Skip to main content

Full text of "Malay magic : being an introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the Malay Peninsula"

See other formats

















A II  rights  reserved 





"The  cry  of  hosts  [we]  humour 
Ah  !  slowly,  toward  the  light." 



THE  circumstances  attending  the  composition  and 
publication  of  the  present  work  have  thrown  upon 
me  the  duty  of  furnishing  it  with  a  preface  explaining 
its  object  and  scope. 

Briefly,  the  purpose  of  the  author  has  been  to 
collect  into  a  Book  of  Malay  Folklore  all  that  seemed 
to  him  most  typical  of  the  subject  amongst  a  con- 
siderable mass  of  materials,  some  of  which  lay 
scattered  in  the  pages  of  various  other  works,  others 
in  unpublished  native  manuscripts,  and  much  in  notes 
made  by  him  personally  of  what  he  had  observed 
during  several  years  spent  in  the  Ma*lay  Peninsula, 
principally  in  the  State  of  Selangor.  The  book  does 
not  profess  to  be  an  exhaustive  or  complete  treatise, 
but  rather,  as  its  title  indicates,  an  introduction  to  the 
study  of  Folklore,  Popular  Religion,  and  Magic  as 
understood  among  the  Malays  of  the  Peninsula. 

It  should  be  superfluous,  at  this  time  of  day,  to 
defend  such  studies  as  these  from  the  criticisms  which 
have  from  time  to  time  been  brought  against  them. 
I  remember  my  old  friend  and  former  teacher,  Wan 

viii  PREFACE 

'Abdullah,  a  Singapore  Malay  of  Trengganu  extrac- 
tion and  Arab  descent,  a  devout  and  learned  Muham- 
madan  and  a  most  charming  man,  objecting  to  them 
on  the  grounds,  first,  that  they  were  useless,  and, 
secondly,  which,  as  he  emphatically  declared,  was  far 
worse,  that  they  were  perilous  to  the  soul's  health. 
This ,  last  is  a  point  of  view  which  it  would  hardly 
be  appropriate  or  profitable  to  discuss  here,  but  a 
few  words  may  as  well  be  devoted  to  the  other  objec- 
tion. It  is  based,  sometimes,  on  the  ground  that 
these  studies  deal  not  with  "facts,"  but  with  mere 
nonsensical  fancies  and  beliefs.  Now,  for  facts  we 
all,  of  course,  have  the  greatest  respect ;  but  the 
objection  appears  to  me  to  involve  an  unwarrantable 
restriction  of  the  meaning  of  the  word  :  a  belief  which 
is  actually  held,  even  a  mere  fancy  that  is  entertained 
in  the  mind,  has  a  real  existence,  and  is  a  fact  just  as 
much  as  any  other.  As  a  piece  of  psychology  it 
must  always  have  a  certain  interest,  and  it  may  on 
occasions  become  of  enormous  practical  importance. 
If,  for  instance,  in  1857  certain  persons,  whose  con- 
cern it  was,  had  paid  more  attention  to  facts  of  this 
kind,  possibly  the  Indian  Mutiny  could  have  been 
prevented,  and  probably  it  might  have  been  foreseen, 
so  that  precautionary  measures  could  have  been  taken 
in  time  to  minimise  the  extent  of  the  catastrophe. 
It  is  not  suggested  that  the  matters  dealt  with  in  this 
book  are  ever  likely  to  involve  such  serious  issues ; 
but,  speaking  generally,  there  can  be  no  doubt 


that  an  understanding  of  the  ideas  and  modes  of 
thought  of  an  alien  people  in  a  relatively  low  stage 
of  civilisation  facilitates  very  considerably  the  task 
of  governing  them ;  and  in  the  Malay  Peninsula 
that  task  has  now  devolved  mainly  upon  English- 
men. Moreover,  every  notion  of  utility  implies  an 
end  to  which  it  is  to  be  referred,  and  there  are  other 
ends  in  life  worth  considering  as  well  as  those  to 
which  the  "practical  man"  is  pleased  to  restrict 
himself.  When  one  passes  from  the  practical  to 
the  speculative  point  of  view,  it  is  almost  impos- 
sible to  predict  what  piece  of  knowledge  will  be 
fruitful  of  results,  and  what  will  not ;  prima  facie, 
therefore,  all  knowledge  has  a  claim  to  be  con- 
sidered of  importance  from  a  scientific  point  of  view, 
and  until  everything  is  known,  nothing  can  safely 
be  rejected  as  worthless. 

Another  and  more  serious  objection,  aimed  rather 
at  the  method  of  such  investigations  as  these,  is 
that  the  evidence  with  which  they  have  to  be  con- 
tent is  worth  little  or  nothing.  Objectors  attempt 
to  discredit  it  by  implying  that  at  best  it  is  only  what 
A.  says  that  B.  told  him  about  the  beliefs  B.  says  he 
holds,  in  other  words,  that  it  is  the  merest  hearsay  ; 
and  it  is  also  sometimes  suggested  that  when  A. 
is  a  European  and  B.  a  savage,  or  at  most  a  semi- 
civilised  person  of  another  breed,  the  chances  are 
that  B.  will  lie  about  his  alleged  beliefs,  or  that 
A.  will  unconsciously  read  his  own  ideas  into  B.'s 


confused  statements,  or  that,  at  any  rate,  one  way  or 
another,  they  are  sure  to  misunderstand  each  other, 
and  accordingly  the  record  cannot  be  a  faithful  one. 

So  far  as  this  objection  can  have  any  applica- 
tion to  the  present  work,  it  may  fairly  be  replied  : 
first  that  the  author  has  been  at  some  pains  to 
corroborate  and  illustrate  his  own  accounts  by  the 
independent  observations  of  others  (and  this  must 
be  his  justification  for  the  copiousness  of  his  quota- 
tions from  other  writers) ;  and,  secondly,  that  he  has, 
whenever  possible,  given  us  what  is  really  the  best 
kind  of  evidence  for  his  own  statements  by  record- 
ing the  charms  and  other  magic  formulae  which  are 
actually  in  use.  Of  these  a  great  number  has  been 
here  collected,  and  in  the  translation  of  such  of  the 
more  interesting  ones  as  are  quoted  in  the  text  of 
the  book,  every  effort  has  been  made  to  keep  to 
literal  accuracy  of  rendering.  The  originals  will  be 
found  in  the  Appendix,  and  it  must  be  left  to  those 
who  can  read  Malay  to  check  the  author's  versions, 
and  to  draw  from  the  untranslated  portions  such 
inferences  as  may  seem  to  them  good. 

The  author  himself  has  no  preconceived  thesis 
to  maintain :  his  object  has  been  collection  rather 
than  comparison,  and  quite  apart  from  the  neces- 
sary limitations  of  space  and  time,  his  method  has 
confined  the  book  within  fairly  well-defined  bounds. 
Though  the  subject  is  one  which  would  naturally 
lend  itself  to  a  comparative  treatment,  and  though 


the  comparison  of  Malay  folklore  with  that  of  other 
nations  (more  particularly  of  India,  Arabia,  and  the 
mainland  of  Indo-China)  would  no  doubt  lead  to 
very  interesting  results,  the  scope  of  the  work  has 
as  far  as  possible  been  restricted  to  the  folklore  of 
the  Malays  of  the  Peninsula.  Accordingly  the  ana- 
logous and  often  quite  similar  customs  and  ideas  of 
the  Malayan  races  of  the  Eastern  Archipelago  have 
been  only  occasionally  referred  to,  while  those  of 
the  Chinese  and  other  non- Malayan  inhabitants  of 
the  Peninsula  have  been  excluded  altogether. 

Moreover,  several  important  departments  of  cus- 
tom and  social  life  have  been,  no  doubt  designedly, 
omitted :  thus,  to  mention  only  one  subject  out  of 
several  that  will  probably  occur  to  the  reader,  the 
modes  of  organisation  of  the  Family  and  the  Clan 
(which  in  certain  Malay  communities  present  archaic 
features  of  no  common  interest),  together  with  the 
derivative  notions  affecting  the  tenure  and  inherit- 
ance of  property,  have  found  no  place  in  this  work. 
The  field,  in  fact,  is  very  wide  and  cannot  all  be 
worked  at  once.  The  folklore  of  uncivilised  races 
may  fairly  enough  be  said  to  embrace  every  phase 
of  nature  and  every  department  of  life :  it  may  be 
regarded  as  containing,  in  the  germ  and  as  yet  un- 
differentiated,  the  notions  from  which  Religion,  Law, 
Medicine,  Philosophy,  Natural  Science,  and  Social 
Customs  are  eventually  evolved.  Its  bulk  and  rela- 
tive importance  seem  to  vary  inversely  with  the 


advance  of  a  race  in  the  progress  towards  civilisa- 
tion ;  and  the  ideas  of  savages  on  these  matters 
appear  to  constitute  in  some  cases  a  great  and 
complex  system,  of  which  comparatively  few  traces 
only  are  left  among  the  more  civilised  peoples. 
The  Malay  race,  while  far  removed  from  the  savage 
condition,  has  not  as  yet  reached  a  very  high  stage 
of  civilisation,  and  still  retains  relatively  large  rem- 
nants of  this  primitive  order  of  ideas.  It  is  true 
that  Malay  notions  on  these  subjects  are  under- 
going a  process  of  disintegration,  the  rapidity  of 
which  has  been  considerably  increased  by  contact 
with  European  civilisation,  but,  such  as  they  are, 
these  ideas  still  form  a  great  factor  in  the  life  of  the 
mass  of  the  people. 

It  may,  however,  be  desirable  to  point  out  that 
the  complexity  of  Malay  folklore  is  to  be  attributed 
in  part  to  its  singularly  mixed  character.  The 
development  of  the  race  from  savagery  and  bar- 
barism up  to  its  present  condition  of  comparative 
civilisation  has  been  modified  and  determined,  first 
and  most  deeply  by  Indian,  and  during  the  last 
five  centuries  or  so  by  Arabian  influences.  Just 
as  in  the  language  of  the  Malays  it  is  possible  by 
analysis  to  pick  out  words  of  Sanskrit  and  Arabic 
origin  from  amongst  the  main  body  of  genuinely 
native  words,  so  in  their  folklore  one  finds  Hindu, 
Buddhist,  and  Muhammadan  ideas  overlying  a  mass 
of  apparently  original  Malay  notions. 

PREFACE  xiii 

These  various  elements  of  their  folklore  are,  how- 
ever, now  so  thoroughly  mixed  up  together  that  it 
is  often  almost  impossible  to  disentangle  them.  No 
systematic  attempt  has  been  made  to  do  so  in  this 
book,  although  here  and  there  an  indication  of  the 
origin  of  some  particular  myth  will  be  found ;  but 
a  complete  analysis  (if  possible  at  all)  would  have 
necessitated,  as  a  preliminary  investigation,  a  much 
deeper  study  of  Hindu  and  Muhammadan  mythology 
than  it  has  been  found  practicable  to  engage  in. 

In  order,  however,  to  give  a  clear  notion  of  the 
relation  which  the  beliefs  and  practices  that  are  here 
recorded  bear  to  the  official  religion  of  the  people, 
it  is  necessary  to  state  that  the  Malays  of  the  Penin- 
sula are  Sunni  Muhammadans  of  the  school  of  Shafi'i, 
and  that  nothing,  theoretically  speaking,  could  be 
more  correct  and  orthodox  (from  the  point  of  view 
of  Islam)  than  the  belief  which  they  profess. 

But  the  beliefs  which  they  actually  hold  are 
another  matter  altogether,  and  it  must  be  admitted 
that  the  Muhammadan  veneer  which  covers  their 
ancient  superstitions  is  very  often  of  the  thinnest 
description.  The  inconsistency  in  which  this  in- 
volves them  is  not,  however,  as  a  rule  realised  by 
themselves.  Beginning  their  invocations  with  the 
orthodox  preface  :  "In  the  name  of  God,  tJie  merciful, 
the  compassionate"  and  ending  them  with  an  appeal 
to  the  Creed :  "  There  is  no  god  but  God,  and  Mu- 
hammad is  the  Apostle  of  God"  they  are  conscious 


of  no  impropriety  in  addressing  the  intervening 
matter  to  a  string  of  Hindu  Divinities,  Demons, 
Ghosts,  and  Nature  Spirits,  with  a  few  Angels  and 
Prophets  thrown  in,  as  the  occasion  may  seem  to 
require.  Still,  the  more  highly  educated  Malays, 
especially  those  who  live  in  the  towns  and  come  into 
direct  contact  with  Arab  teachers  of  religion,  are 
disposed  to  object  strongly  to  these  "  relics  of  pagan- 
ism "  ;  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  increasing 
diffusion  of  general  education  in  the  Peninsula  is 
contributing  to  the  growth  of  a  stricter  conception 
of  Islam,  which  will  involve  the  gradual  suppression 
of  such  of  these  old-world  superstitions  as  are  ob- 
viously of  an  "unorthodox"  character. 

This  process,  however,  will  take  several  genera- 
tions to  accomplish,  and  in  the  meantime  it  is  to  be 
hoped  that  a  complete  record  will  have  been  made 
both  of  what  is  doomed  sooner  or  later  to  perish, 
and  of  what  in  all  likelihood  will  survive  under  the 
new  conditions  of  our  time.  It  is  as  a  contribution 
to  such  a  record,  and  as  a  collection  of  materials 
to  serve  as  a  sound  basis  for  further  additions  and 
comparisons,  that  this  work  is  offered  to  the  reader. 

A  list  of  the  principal  authorities  referred  to  will 
be  found  in  another  place,  but  it  would  be  improper 
to  omit  here  the  acknowledgments  which  are  due 
to  the  various  authors  of  whose  work  in  this  field 
such  wide  use  has  been  made.  Among  the  dead 
special  mention  must  be  made  of  Marsden,  who  will 


always  be  for  Englishmen  the  pioneer  of  Malay 
studies ;  Leyden,  the  gifted  translator  of  the  Se- 
jarah  Malayu,  whose  early  death  probably  inflicted 
on  Oriental  scholarship  the  greatest  loss  it  has  ever 
had  to  suffer ;  Newbold,  the  author  of  what  is  still, 
on  the  whole,  the  best  work  on  the  Malay  Peninsula  ; 
and  Sir  William  Maxwell,  in  whom  those  of  us  who 
knew  him  have  lost  a  friend,  and  Malay  scholarship 
a  thoroughly  sound  and  most  brilliant  exponent. 

Among  the  living,  the  acknowledgments  of  the 
author  are  due  principally  to  Sir  Frank  Swetten- 
ham  and  Mr.  Hugh  Clifford,  who,  while  they  have 
done  much  to  popularise  the  knowledge  of  things 
Malay  amongst  the  general  reading  public,  have 
also  embodied  in  their  works  the  results  of  much 
careful  and  accurate  observation.  The  free  use 
which  has  beey  made  of  the  writings  of  these  and 
other  authors  will,  it  is  hoped,  be  held  to  be  justified 
by  their  intrinsic  value. 

It  must  be  added  that  the  author,  having  to  leave 
England  about  the  beginning  of  this  year  with  the 
Cambridge  scientific  expedition  which  is  now  explor- 
ing the  Northern  States  of  the  Peninsula,  left  the 
work  with  me  for  revision.  The  first  five  Chapters 
and  Chapter  VI.,  up  to  the  end  of  the  section  on 
Dances,  Sports,  and  Games,  were  then  already  in 
the  printer's  hands,  but  only  the  first  100  pages  or 
so  had  had  the  benefit  of  the  autho/s  revision.  For 
the  arrangement  of  the  rest  of  Chapter  VI.,  and  for 


some  small  portion  of  the  matter  therein  contained, 
I  am  responsible,  and  it  has  also  been  my  duty  to 
revise  the  whole  book  finally.  Accordingly,  it  is 
only  fair  to  the  author  to  point  out  that  he  is  to  be 
credited  with  the  matter  and  the  general  scheme  of 
the  work,  while  the  responsibility  for  defects  in  detail 
must  fall  upon  myself. 

As  regards  the  spelling  of  Malay  words,  it  must 
be  said  that  geographical  names  •  have  been  spelled 
in  the  way  which  is  now  usually  adopted  and  without 
diacritical  marks  :  the  names  of  the  principal  Native 
States  of  the  Peninsula  (most  of  which  are  repeatedly 
mentioned  in  the  book)  are  Kedah,  Perak,  Selangor, 
Johor,  Pahang,  Trengganu,  Kelantan,  and  Patani. 
Otherwise,  except  in  quotations  (where  the  spelling 
of  the  original  is  preserved),  an  attempt  has  been 
made  to  transliterate  the  Malay  words  found  in  the 
body  of  the  book  in  such  a  way  as  to  give  the 
ordinary  reader  a  fairly  correct  idea  of  their  pro- 
nunciation. The  Appendix,  which  appeals  only  to 
persons  who  already  know  Malay,  has  been  some- 
what differently  treated,  diacritical  marks  being  in- 
serted only  in  cases  where  there  was  a  possible 
ambiguity,  and  the  spelling  of  the  original  MSS. 
being  changed  as  little  as  possible. 

A  perfect  transliteration,  or  one  that  will  suit 
everybody,  is,  however,  an  unattainable  ideal,  and 
the  most  that  can  be  done  in  that  direction  is  neces- 
sarily a  compromise.  In  the  system  adopted  in  the 

rREFACE  xvii 

body  of  the  work,  the  vowels  are  to  be  sounded 
(roughly  speaking)  as  in  Italian,  except  e  (which 
resembles  the  French  e  in  que,  le,  and  the  like),  and 
the  consonants  as  in  English  (but  ng  as  in  singer, 
not  finger ;  g  as  in  go  ;  ny  as  ni  in  onion  ;  ch  as  in 
church  ;  final  k  and  initial  h  almost  inaudible).  The 
symbol  '  represents  the  Arabic  'ain,  and  the  symbol  ' 
is  used  (i)  between  consonants,  to  indicate  the  pres- 
ence of  an  almost  inaudible  vowel,  the  shortest  form 
of  <?,  and  elsewhere  (2)  for  the  kamzah,  and  (3)  for 
the  apostrophe,  i.e.  to  denote  the  suppression  of  a 
letter  or  syllable.  Both  the  'ain  and  the  hamzah 
may  be  neglected  in  pronunciation,  as  indeed  they 
are  very  generally  disregarded  by  the  Malays  them- 
selves. In  this  and  other  respects,  Arabic  scholars 
into  whose  hands  this  book  may  fall  must  not  be 
surprised  to  find  that  Arabic  words  and  phrases 
suffer  some  corruptions  in  a  Malay  context.  These 
have  not,  as  a  rule,  been  interfered  with  or  cor- 
rected, although  it  has  not  been  thought  worth 
while  to  preserve  obvious  blunders  of  spelling  in 
well-known  Arabic  formula;.  It  should  be  added 
that  in  Malay  the  accent  or  stress,  which  is  less 
marked  than  in  English,  falls  almost  invariably  on 
the  penultimate  syllable  of  the  word.  Exceptions  to 
this  rule  hardly  ever  occur  except  in  the  few  cases 
where  the  penultimate  is  an  open  syllable  with  a  short 
vowel,  as  indicated  by  the  sign  w. 

The  illustrations  are  reproduced  from  photographs 


xviii  PREFACE 

of  models  and  original  objects  made  by  Malays ; 
most  of  these  models  and  other  objects  are  now 
in  the  Cambridge  Archaeological  and  Ethnological 
Museum,  to  which  they  were  presented  by  the  author. 
The  Index,  for  the  compilation  of  which  I  am 
indebted  to  my  wife,  who  has  also  given  me  much 
assistance  in  the  revision  of  the  proof-sheets,  will,  it  is 
believed,  add  greatly  to  the  usefulness  of  the  work  as 
a  book  of  reference. 


WOKING,  -2.%th  August  1899. 


NATURE,  pp.  1-15 


(b)  NATURAL  PHENOMENA       . 


MAN  AND  His  PLACE  IN  THE  UNIVERSE,  pp.  16-55 

(a)  CREATION  OF  MAN  .  .16 

(/;)  SANCTITY  OF  THE  BODY    .  .  .  -23 

(c)  THE  SOUL  .  .  .  .  .  .  -47 

(d)  ANIMAL,  VEGETABLE,  AND  MINERAL  SOULS          .  52 



(a)  THE  MAGICIAN       .  .  .  .  .  •       56 

(b)  HIGH  PLACES         .  .  .  .  .  .61 

(c)  NATURE  OF  RITES  .  .  .  .  71 



THE  MALAY  PANTHEON,  pp.  83-106 


(a)  GODS  .......        83 

(b)  SPIRITS,  DEMONS,  AND  GHOSTS     .  .  .  -93 


OF  NATURE,  pp.  107-319 

(a)  AIR — i.  WIND  AND  WEATHER  CHARMS    .  .  .107 

2.  BIRDS  AND  BIRD  CHARMS  .  .  .109 


2.  BEASTS  AND  BEAST  CHARMS  .  .  .149 

3.  VEGETATION  CHARMS  .            .  .  193 

4.  MINERALS  AND  MINING  CHARMS  .  .     250 

(c)  WATER — i.  PURIFICATION  BY  WATER       .  .  -277 

2.  THE  SEA,  RIVERS,  AND  STREAMS  .  .279 


4.  FISHING  CEREMONIES  .  .  .     306 

(d)  FIRE — i.  PRODUCTION  OF  FIRE  .  .  .  .317 

2.  FIRE  CHARMS    .  .  .  .  .318 


1.  BIRTH-SPIRITS         ......     320 

2.  BIRTH  CEREMONIES  .....     332 

3.  ADOLESCENCE  .  .  .  .352 




5.  BETROTHAL  ...  .  364 

6.  MARRIAGE.  ......     368 

7.  FUNERALS.  ....  .     397 

8.  MEDICINE  ....  .     408 

9.  DANCES,  SPORTS,  AND  GAMES      .  .  .  .457 

10.  THEATRICAL  EXHIBITIONS  ....     503 

11.  WAR  AND  WEAPONS         .  .  .  .522 

12.  DIVINATION  AND  THE  BLACK  ART  .  .     532 

APPENDIX        ...  .581 

NOTE  ON  THE  WORD  KRAMAT  ....     673 


INDEX    .  .....     677 




2.  INVOKING  THE  TIGER  SPIRIT      ....       438 


4.  MAIN  GALAH  PANJANG   .....       500 

5.  TAPERS  USED  IN  EXORCISING  EVIL  SPIRITS       .  .       511 

6.  TAPER  AND  RING  USED  IN  SAME  CEREMONY     .  .       512 

7.  HEPTACLE  ON  WHICH  THE  SEVEN-SQUARE  is  BASED      .       558 



1.  SELANGOR  REGALIA         .....        40 

2.  SPIRITS    .......        94 

3.  THE  SPECTRE  HUNTSMAN  .  .  .  .116 

4.  PIGEON  DECOY  HUT       .  .  .  .  133 

5.  RICE-SOUL  BASKETS        .....      244 

6.  BAJANG  AND  PELESIT  CHARMS    .  .  .321 

7.  PENANGGALAN  AND  LANGSUIR     ....       326 

8.  BETROTHAL  GIFTS  .  -365 
9-           ...»                           •  •       366 

10.  CURTAIN  FRINGE  .  .       372 

11.  FIG.   i. — BRIDAL  BOUQUETS        .     } 

2. — THE  HENNA  CAKE,  ETC.  / 




„     2. — PILLOW-ENDS     .  .        / 

13.  WEDDING  PROCESSION     .            .            .  .381 

14.  POKO'  SIRIH        ......       382 

15.  WEDDING  CENTREPIECE  WITH  DRAGONS,  ETC.  .            .       388 

1 6.  BOMOR  AT  WORK            .            .            .  /.       410 

17.  ANCHAK  ....  .414 

1 8.  GAMBOR  .            .  .                   464 

19.  PEDIKIR  .  .                   466 

20.  FIG.   i. — MUSICAL  INSTRUMENTS  )  g 

„     2. — DEMON  MASK  .  / 

21.  MASKS  OF  CLOWNS  AND  DEMON  .       513 

22.  KUDA  SEMBRANI              .  5J4 

23.  FIG.   i. — HANUMAN          .                  \  6 

„       2. — PAUH    JANGGI    AND    CRAB    / 

24.  FIG.  i. — WEATHER  CHART  \ 

„     2. — DIAGRAM          .     ] 

25.  DIAGRAMS            .  -555 

26.  „  -558 

27.  „  •       56i 

28.  FIG.  i. — WAX  FIGURES  .                        •     \  , 



(a)  Creation  of  the  World 

THE  theory  of  the  Creation  most  usually  held  by 
Peninsular  Malays  is  summarised  in  the  following 
passage,  quoted  (in  1839)  by  Lieutenant  Newbold 
from  a  Malay  folk-tale  : — 

"  From  the  Supreme  Being  first  emanated  light 
towards  chaos  ;  this  light,  diffusing  itself,  became  the 
vast  ocean.  From  the  bosom  of  the  waters  thick 
vapour  and  foam  ascended.  The  earth  and  sea  were 
then  formed,  each  of  seven  tiers.  The  earth  rested  on 
the  surface  of  the  water  from  east  to  west.  God,  in 
order  to  render  steadfast  the  foundations  of  the  world, 
which  vibrated  tremulously  with  the  motion  of  the 
watery  expanse,  girt  it  round  with  an  adamantine 
chain,  viz.  the  stupendous  mountains  of  Caucasus,  the 
wondrous  regions  of  genii  and  aerial  spirits.  Beyond 
these  limits  is  spread  out  a  vast  plain,  the  sand  and 
earth  of  which  are  of  gold  and  musk,  the  stones 
rubies  and  emeralds,  the  vegetation  of  odoriferous 

"  From  the  range  of  Caucasus  all  the  mountains  of 



the  earth  have  their  origin  as  pillars  to  support  and 
strengthen  the  terrestrial  framework." 

The  Mountains  of  Caucasus  are  usually  called  by 
Malays  Bukit  Kof  (i.e.  Kaf),  or  the  Mountains  of  Kaf 
(which  latter  is  their  Arabic  name).  These  mountains  are 
not  unfrequently  referred  to  in  Malay  charms,  e.g.  in  in- 
vocations addressed  to  the  Rice-Spirit.  The  Mountains 
of  Kaf  are  to  the  Malays  a  great  range  which  serves 
as  a  "  wall "  (dinding)  to  the  earth,  and  keeps  off  both 
excessive  winds  and  beasts  of  prey.  This  wall,  how- 
ever, is  being  bored  through  by  people  called  Yajuj 
and  Majuj  (Gog  and  Magog),  and  when  they  succeed 
in  their  task  the  end  of  all  things  will  come.  Besides 
these  mountains  which  surround  the  earth  there  is  a 
great  central  mountain  called  Mahameru  (Saguntang 
Maha  Biru,  or  merely  Saguntang-guntang).2  In 
many  Malay  stories  this  hill  Mahameru  is  identified 
with  Saguntang-guntang  on  the  borders  of  Palembang 
in  Sumatra. 

The  account  which  I  shall  now  give,  however, 
differs  considerably  from  the  preceding.  It  was  taken 
down  by  me  from  an  introduction  to  a  Malay  charm- 
book  belonging  to  a  magician  (one  'Abdul  Razzak  of 
Klang  in  Selangor),  with  whom  I  was  acquainted,  but 
who,  though  he  allowed  me  to  copy  it,  would  not  allow 
me  either  to  buy  or  borrow  the  book  :3 — 

"  In  the  days  when  Haze  bore  Darkness,  and 
Darkness  Haze,  when  the  Lord  of  the  Outer  Silence 
Himself  was  yet  in  the  womb  of  Creation,  before  the 
existence  of  the  names  of  Earth  and  Heaven,  of  God 
and  Muhammad,  of  the  Empyrean  and  Crystalline 

1  Newbold,  British    Settlements   in  2    Vide  Vishnu  Ptirana,   vol.    ii.   p. 

the  Straits  of  Malacca,  vol.  ii.  pp.  360,        109  ;  trans,  by  Wilson. 
361.  3  The  full  Malay  text  of  this  intro- 

duction will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 


spheres,  or  of  Space  and  Void,  the  Creator  of  the 
entire  Universe  pre-existed  by  Himself,  and  He  was 
the  Eldest  Magician.  He  created  the  Earth  of  the 
width  of  a  tray  and  the  Heavens  of  the  width rof  an 
umbrella,  which  are  the  universe  of  the  Magician. 
Now  from  before  the  beginning  of  time  existed  that 
Magician — that  is,  God — and  He  made  Himself  mani- 
fest with  the  brightness  of  the  moon  and  the  sun, 
which  is  the  token  of  the  True  Magician." 

The  account  proceeds  to  describe  how  God 
"  created  the  pillar  of  the  Ka'bah,1  which  is  the  Navel 
of  the  Earth,  whose  growth  is  comparable  to  a  Tree, 
.  .  .  whose  branches  are  four  in  number,  and  are 
called,  the  first,  '  Sajeratul  Mentahar,'  and  the  second 
'  Taubi,'  and  the  third,  '  Khaldi,'  and  the  fourth  'Nasrun 
'Alam,'  which  extend  unto  the  north,  south,  east,  and 
west,  where  they  are  called  the  Four  Corners  of  the 

Next  we  read  that  the  word  of  God  Almighty  came 
in  secret  to  Gabriel,  saying,  "  Take  me  down  the  iron 
staff  of  the  '  Creed '  which  dangles  at  the  gate  of 
heaven,  and  kill  me  this  serpent  Sakatimuna."  ' 
Gabriel  did  so,  and  the  serpent  brake  asunder,  the 
head  and  forepart  shooting  up  above  the  heavens,  and 
the  tail  part  penetrating  downwards  beneath  the  earth.3 
The  rest  of  the  account  is  taken  up  with  a  description, 
that  need  not  here  be  repeated,  of  the  transformation 
of  all  the  various  parts  of  the  serpent's  anatomy,  which 

1  Lit.    "A  cube."     The  cube-like  of  the  1 2th  century. — Newbold,  op.  cit. 
building  in  the  centre  of  the  Mosque  vol.  ii.  p.  199  n.     It  is  also  given  as 
at  Makkah    (Mecca),   which   contains  "  Icktimani "  by  Leyden  in  his  trans, 
the  Hajaru  'l-Aswad,  or  black  stone. —  of  the  Malay  Annals. 

Hughes,  Diet,  of  Islam,  s.v.  Ka'bah.  3  For   the   parting   asunder   of  the 

2  Sakatimuna  (or  "  Sicatimuna")  is  snake,  vide  the  note  on  page  n  infra, 
the  name  of  an  enormous  serpent,  said  which  gives  what  may  be  the  origin  of 
to  have  ravaged  the  country  of  Menang-  this  myth  as  it  is  known  to  the  Malays, 
kabau  in  Sumatra  about  the  beginning 


are  represented  as  turning  with  a  few  exceptions  into 
good  and  evil  genii. 

The  most  curious  feature  of  the  description  is 
perhaps  the  marked  anthropomorphic  character  of 
this  serpent,  which  shows  it  to  be  a  serpent  in  little 
more  than  name.  It  seems,  in  fact,  very  probable  that 
we  have  here  a  reminiscence  of  the  Indian  "Naga."1 
Thus  we  find  the  rainbow  (here  divided  into  its  com- 
ponent parts)  described  as  originating  from  the  serpent's 
sword  with  its  hilt  and  cross-piece  (guard),  grass  from 
the  hair  of  its  body,  trees  from  the  hair  of  its  head, 
rain  from  its  tears,  and  dew  from  its  sweat. 

Another  account,  also  obtained  from  a  local  magi- 
cian, contains  one  or  two  additional  details  about  the 
tree.  "  Kim"  said  God,  "  Pay  ah*  kun"  said  Muham- 
mad, and  a  seed  was  created. 

"  The  seed  became  a  root  (lit.  sinew),  the  root  a 
tree,  and  the  tree  brought  forth  leaves. 

"  lKun,}  said  God,  l  Pay  ah  kun?  said  Muhammad  ; 
.  .  .  Then  were  Heaven  and  Earth  (created),  '  Earth 
of  the  width  of  a  tray,  Heaven  of  the  width  of  an 

This  is  a  curious  passage,  and  one  not  over-easy  to 

1  The  Nagas  are  generally  repre-  its  folded  arms.  The  pattern  of  these 
sented  in  old  sculptures  as  bearing  the  hilts,  which  are  universally  used  for  the 
human  form,  but  with  a  snake  attached  national  Malay  Kris  or  dagger,  varies 
to  their  backs,  and  the  hooded  head  from  an  accurate  representation  of  the 
rising  behind  their  necks.  —  Naga-  human  figure  to  forms  in  which  nothing 
nanda,  translated  by  Palmer  Boyd,  but  the  hood  (which  is  occasionally  much 
p.  6 1  ;  vide  also  ib.  p.  84.  This  exaggerated)  is  recognisable.  Euro- 
may  be  the  explanation  of  the  Malay  peans  seeing  these  hilts  for  the  first 
Kris  hilt,  or  dagger  hilt,  which  repre-  time  sometimes  take  them  for  snakes' 
sents  a  seated  human  form  with  folded  heads,  sometimes  for  the  heads  of  birds, 
arms  and  a  hood  at  the  back  of  its  2  Payah  probably  stands  for  supaya, 
neck  rising  over  its  head.  These  perhaps  with  the  meaning  "  so  also." 
hilts  are  called  hulu  Malayu  (the  Kun  in  Arabic  means  "be."  The 
"Malay  hilt"),  or  Jawa  demam  (lit.  tree  would  appear  to  be  identifiable 
the  "Fever-stricken  Javanese"),  in  allu-  (vide  App.  i.,  iii.)  with  that  mentioned 
sion  to  the  attitude  of  the  figure  with  in  the  first  account. 


explain  ;  such  evidence  as  may  be  drawn  from  analogy 
suggests,  however,  that  the  "  Earth  of  the  width  of  a 
tray,  and  Heaven  of  the  width  of  an  umbrella,"  may 
be  intended  to  represent  respectively  the  "souls" 
(semangat)  of  heaven  and  earth,  in  which  case  they 
would  bear  the  same  relation  to  the  material  heaven 
and  earth  as  the  man-shaped  human  soul  does  to  the 
body  of  a  man. 

(b)  Natural  Phenomena 

"Most  Malays,"  says  Newbold,  "with  whom  I 
have  conversed  on  the  subject,  imagine  that  the  world 
is  of  an  oval  shape,  revolving  upon  its  own  axis  four 
times  in  the  space  of  one  year  ;  that  the  sun  is  a  circular 
body  of  fire  moving  round  the  earth,  and  producing 
the  alternations  of  night  and  day." 

To  this  I  would  add  that  some  Malays,  at 
least,  whom  I  questioned  on  the  subject  (as  well  as 
some  Sakais1  under  Malay  influence),  imagined  the 
firmament  to  consist  of  a  sort  of  stone  or  rock  which 
they  called  Batu  hampar,  or  "  Bed  rock,"  the  appear- 
ance of  stars  being  caused  (as  they  supposed)  by  the 
light  which  streams  through  its  perforations. 

A  further  development  of  the  Malay  theory  of  the 
earth  declares  it  to  be  carried  by  a  colossal  buffalo 
upon  the  tip  of  its  horns.2  When  one  horn  begins  to 
tire  the  buffalo  tosses  it  up  and  catches  it  upon  the  tip 
of  the  other,  thus  causing  periodical  earthquakes. 

1  Sakais    are   certain   of    the   non-  largely  influenced  some  departments  of 
Malayan    heathen    (i.e.    not    Muham-  Malay  folk-lore,  it  is  an  elephant  which 
madan)  inhabitants   of  the   hills   and  supports  the  earth.     So,  too,  Vishnu  in 
jungles  of  the  Peninsula.  the  boar-incarnation   raised   the  earth 

2  Some     say    a     bullock     (tfmbu),  from  the  bottom  of  the  sea  upon  his 
but  the  most  usual  version  gives  the  tusks. 

buffalo.     In  the  Ramayana,  which  has 



This  world-buffalo,  it  should  be  added,  stands  upon 
an  island  in  the  midst  of  the  nether  ocean.1  The 
universe  is  girt  round  by  an  immense  serpent  or 
dragon  (Ular  Naga),  which  "  feeds  upon  its  own  tail." 

The  Malay  theory  of  the  tides  is  concisely  stated 
by  Newbold  :2- 

"Some  Malays  ascribe  the  tides  to  the  influence 
of  the  sun  ;  others  to  some  unknown  current  of  the 
ocean ;  but  the  generality  believe  confidently  the 
following,  which  is  a  mere  skeleton  of  the  original 
legend.  In  the  middle  of  the  great  ocean  grows  an 
immense  tree,  called  Pauh  Jangi,3  at  the  root  of 

1  This  island  (for  which  a  tortoise  or 
the  fish  "  Nun  "  is  occasionally  substi- 
tuted) may  be  compared  with  the  Batak 
(Sumatran)  belief  concerning  the  raft 
which  was  made  by  Batara  Guru  for 
the  support  of  the  earth  at  the  creation 
of    the    world     (/.  R.  A.  S.,    N.    S. 
vol.   xiii.    part    i.   p.    60) ;    and   vide 
Klinkert's   Malay  -  Dutch    Diet.,    s.v, 

2  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  p.  359. 
The  spelling  of  "  Jangi "  is  incorrect.   It 
should  be  spelt  "  Janggi." 

3  This  tree  appears  to  be  a  tradition 
of  the  Cocos  Maldiva,  of  which  Sir  H. 
Yule,  s.v.  Coco-de-Mer,  gives  the  fol- 
lowing interesting  account  : — 

"  Coco-de-Mer,  or  Double  Coco-nut, 
the  curious  twin  fruit  so  called,  the 
produce  of  the  Lodoicea  Sechellarum, 
a  palm  growing  only  in  the  Seychelles 
Islands,  is  cast  up  on  the  shores  of  the 
Indian  Ocean,  most  frequently  on  the 
Maldive  Islands,  but  occasionally  also 
on  Ceylon  and  S.  India,  and  on  the 
coasts  of  Zanzibar,  of  Sumatra,  and 
some  others  of  the  Malay  Islands. 
Great  virtues  as  medicine  and  antidote 
were  supposed  to  reside  in  these  fruits, 
and  extravagant  prices  were  paid  for 
them.  The  story  goes  that  a  '  country 
captain,'  expecting  to  make  his  fortune, 
took  a  cargo  of  these  nuts  from  the 
Seychelles  Islands  to  Calcutta,  but  the 
only  result  was  to  destroy  their  value 
for  the  future. 

"The  old  belief  was  that  the  fruit  was 
produced  on  a  palm  growing  below  the 
sea,  whose  fronds,  according  to  Malay 
seamen,  were  sometimes  seen  in  quiet 
bights  on  the  Sumatran  coast,  especially 
in  the  Lampong  Bay.  According  to 
one  form  of  the  story  among  the  Malays, 
which  is  told  both  by  Pigafetta  and  by 
Rumphius,  there  was  but  one  such  tree, 
the  fronds  of  which  rose  above  an 
abyss  of  the  Southern  Ocean,  and  were 
the  abode  of  the  monstrous  bird  Garuda 
(or  Rukh  of  the  Arabs).  The  tree 
itself  was  called  Pau-scngi,  which 
Rumphius  seems  to  interpret  as  a 
corruption  of  Bzrwa-zangi,  '  Fruit  of 
Zang,'  or  E.  Africa.  They  were  cast 
up  occasionally  on  the  islands  of  the 
S.  W.  coast  of  Sumatra ;  and  the 
wild  people  of  the  islands  brought 
them  for  sale  to  the  Sumatran  marts, 
such  as  Padang  and  Priamang.  One 
of  the  largest  (say  about  twelve  inches 
across)  would  sell  for  150  rix  dollars. 
But  the  Malay  princes  coveted  them 
greatly,  and  would  sometimes  (it  was 
alleged)  give  a  laden  junk  for  a  single 
nut.  In  India  the  best-known  source 
of  supply  was  from  the  Maldive 

"The  medical  virtues  of  the  nut  were 
not  only  famous  among  all  the  people 
of  the  East,  including  the  Chinese,  but 
are  extolled  by  Piso  and  by  Rumphius, 
with  many  details.  The  latter,  learned 
and  laborious  student  of  nature  as  he 


which  is  a  cavern  called  Pusat  Tassek,  or  navel  of 
the  lake.  This  is  inhabited  by  a  vast  crab,  who  goes 
forth  at  stated  periods  during  the  day.  When  the 
creature  returns  to  its  abode  the  displaced  water 
causes  the  flow  of  the  tide  ;  when  he  departs,  the  water 
rushing  into  the  cavern  causes  the  ebb." 

Mr.  Clifford  gives  a  slightly  different  expla- 
nation :— 

"  The  Pusat  tasek,  or  Navel  of  the  Seas,  supposed 
to  be  a  huge  hole  in  the  ocean  bottom.  In  this  hole 
there  sits  a  gigantic  crab  which  twice  a  day  gets  out 
in  order  to  search  for  food.  While  he  is  sitting  in  the 
hole  the  waters  of  the  ocean  are  unable  to  pour  down 
into  the  under  world,  the  whole  of  the  aperture  being 
filled  and  blocked  by  the  crab's  bulk.  The  inflowing 
of  the  rivers  into  the  sea  during  these  periods  are 
supposed  to  cause  the  rising  of  the  tide,  while  the 
downpouring  of  the  waters  through  the  great  hole 
when  the  crab  is  absent  searching  for  food  is  supposed 
to  cause  the  ebb." 

Concerning    the    wonderful    legendary    tree    (the 

was,  believed  in  the  submarine  origin  or  "  Pauh,"  which  is  perfectly  good 
of  the  nut,  though  he  discredited  its  Malay,  and  is  the  name  given  to 
growing  on  a  great  palm,  as  no  traces  various  species  of  mango,  especially 
of  such  a  plant  had  ever  been  discovered  the  wild  one,  so  that  "  Pau-sengi  " 
on  the  coasts.  The  fame  of  the  nut's  actually  represents  (not  "Buwa," 
virtues  had  extended  to  Europe,  and  but)  "  Pauh  Janggi,"  which  is  to  this 
the  Emperor  Rudolf  II.  in  his  latter  day  the  universal  Malay  name  for  the 
days  offered  in  vain  4000  florins  to  tree  which  grows,  according  to  Malay 
purchase  from  the  family  of  Wolfert  fable,  in  the  central  whirlpool  or 
Hermanszen,  a  Dutch  Admiral,  one  Navel  of  the  Seas.  Some  versions  add 
which  had  been  presented  to  that  com-  that  it  grows  upon  a  sunken  bank 
mander  by  the  King  of  Bantam,  on  (tubing  runtok),  and  is  guarded  by 
the  Hollander's  relieving  his  capital,  dragons.  This  tree  figures  largely  in 
attacked  by  the  Portuguese  in  1602." —  Malay  romances,  especially  those  which 
Hobson-Jobson,  loc.  cit.  form  the  subject  of  Malay  shadow- 
To  this  valuable  note  I  would  add  plays,  (vide  infra,  PI.  23,  for  anillustra- 
that  Rumphius  is  evidently  wrong  if  he  tion  of  the  Pauh  Janggi  and  the  Crab), 
derives  the  name  of  the  tree,  "  Pau-  Rumphius'  explanation  of  the  second 
sengi,"  from  the  Malay  "  Buwa-zangi."  part  of  the  name  (i.e.  Janggi)  is,  no 
The  first  part  of  the  word  is  "  Pau  "  doubt,  quite  correct. 


Pauh  Janggi)  the  following  story  was  related  to  me 
by  a  Selangor  Malay  : — 

"There  was  once  a  Selangor  man  named  Haji 
Batu,  or  the  Petrified  Pilgrim,  who  got  this  name 
from  the  fact  that  the  first  joints  of  all  the  fingers  of 
one  hand  had  been  turned  into  stone.  This  happened 
in  the  following  manner.  In  the  old  days  when  men 
went  voyaging  in  sailing  vessels,  he  determined  to 
visit  Mecca,  and  accordingly  set  sail.  After  sailing 
for  about  two  months  they  drifted  out  of  their  course 
for  some  ten  or  fifteen  days,  and  then  came  to  a  part 
of  the  sea  where  there  were  floating  trunks  of  trees, 
together  with  rice-straw  (batang padi]  and  all  manner 
of  flotsam.  Yet  again  they  drifted  for  seven  days, 
and  upon  the  seventh  night  Haji  Batu  dreamed  a 
dream.  In  this  dream  one  who  wore  the  pilgrim's 
garb  appeared  to  him,  and  warned  him  to  carry  on 
his  person  a  hammer  and  seven  nails,  and  when  he 
came  to  a  tree  which  would  be  the  Pauh  Janggi  he 
was  to  drive  the  first  of  the  nails  into  its  stem  and  cling 
thereto.  Next  day  the  ship  reached  the  great  whirl- 
pool which  is  called  the  Navel  of  the  Seas,1  and  while 

1  The  following  passage  describes  and  dashed  him  against  the  sea  bottom 

how  a  magic  prince  visited  the  Navel  with  such  force  that  his  head  was 

of  the  Seas  : —  buried  in  the  ground,  but  the  little 

"  Presently  he  arrived  at  his  destina-  dragon  cared  not  at  all.  Then  the 

tion — the  Navel  of  the  Seas — (Pusat  Raja  Naga  said  :  '  Tell  me  the  truth  ! 

taseK).  All  the  monsters  of  the  ocean,  from  what  land  hast  thou  fallen  (titek 

the  whales  and  monster  fishes,  and  col-  deri  pada  n/gri  ninggua  mand),  and 

ossal  dragons  (naga  umbang),  and  the  whose  son  and  offspring  art  thou  ? ' 

magic  dragons  (naga  sri  naga  ka-sak-  To  which  the  Golden  Dragon  made 

tian),  assembled  together  to  eat  and  answer,  saying,  '  I  have  no  land  nor 

devour  him,  and  such  a  tumult  arose  country,  I  have  neither  father  nor 

that  the  Raja  Naga,  who  was  superior  mother,  but  I  was  incarnated  from  the 

to  all,  heard  it  and  came  to  see.  Now  hollow  part  of  a  bamboo  ! '  When  the 

when  he  beheld  the  Golden  Dragon  Raja  Naga  heard  this  he  sent  for  his 

he  opened  his  jaws  to  their  full  extent,  spectacles  (cA/rmzn  mata),  and  by  their 

and  made  three  attempts  to  seize  and  aid  he  was  able  to  see  the  real  parentage 

swallow  him,  but  failed  each  time.  of  the  Golden  Dragon  and  all  con- 

At  length,  however,  he  caught  him,  cerning  him,  and  he  at  once  told  him 


the  ship  was  being  sucked  into  the  eddy  close  to  the 
tree  and  engulfed,  Haji  Batu  managed  to  drive  the 
first  nail  home,  and  clung  to  it  as  the  ship  went  down. 
After  a  brief  interval  he  endeavoured  to  drive  in  the 
second  nail,  somewhat  higher  up  the  stem  than  the 
first  (why  Haji  Batu  could  not  climb  without  the  aid 
of  nails  history  does  not  relate),  and  drawing  himself 
up  by  it,  drove  in  the  third.  Thus  progressing,  by  the 
time  he  had  driven  in  all  the  seven  nails  he  had 
reached  the  top  of  the  tree,  when  he  discovered  among 
the  branches  a  nest  of  young  rocs.  Here  he  rested, 
and  having  again  been  advised  in  a  dream,  he  waited. 
On  the  following  day,  when  the  parent  roc  had  returned 
and  was  engaged  in  feeding  its  young  with  an  elephant 
which  it  had  brought  for  the  purpose,  he  bound  himself 
to  its  feathers  with  his  girdle,  and  was  carried  in  this 
manner  many  hundreds  of  miles  to  the  westward, 
where,  upon  the  roc's  nearing  the  ground,  he  let 
himself  go,  and  thus  dropping  to  the  earth,  fell  into 
a  swoon.  On  recovering  consciousness  he  walked 
on  till  he  came  to  a  house,  where  he  asked  for  and 
obtained  some  refreshment.  On  his  departure  he 
was  advised  to  go  westward,  and  so  proceeded  for  a 
long  distance  until  he  arrived  at  a  beautifully  clear 
pool  in  an  open  plain,  around  which  were  to  be  seen 
many  stone  figures  of  human  beings.  The  appearance 
of  these  stone  figures  rendering  him  suspicious,  he 

everything  concerning  his  birth  (usul  place,  since  he  was  very  old.     Thus  the 

asal  ka-jadt-an-nya),  and  informed  him  Golden   Dragon   continued   to  live  in 

that  they  were  close  relations,  since  the  increasing  state  and  prosperity  at  the 

Golden  Dragon's  mother  was  a  relative  Pusat  tasek,  and  was  greatly  beloved 

of  the   Raja  Naga.     Then    the    Raja  by  his  uncle,  the  Raja  Naga ;  and  in 

Naga  kissed  and  embraced  his  nephew,  the  course  of  time  his  horn  (chula)  split 

and   congratulated   himself  on  having  up  and  was  replaced  by  six  other  heads 

seen  him  before  his  time  came  to  die,  — making  seven  in  all." — Hikayat Raja 

and    calling    together    all    his    people  Budtman,    part    ii.    pp.   7,  8.       Pub- 

to  feast,  installed  (tabal)  the    Golden  lications  of  the    S.    B.   of  the  Royal 

Dragon  as  king  over  them  in  his  own  Asiatic  Society,  No.  3. 

io  NA  TURE  CHAP. 

refrained  from  drinking  the  water,  and  dipped  into  it 
merely  the  tips  of  his  fingers,  which  became  immedi- 
ately petrified.  Proceeding  he  met  a  vast  number 
of  wild  animals — pigs,  deer,  and  elephants — which 
were  fleeing  from  the  pursuit  of  a  beast  of  no  great 
size  indeed,  but  with  fiery  red  fur.  He  therefore 
prudently  climbed  into  a  tree  to  allow  it  to  pass. 
The  beast,  however,  pursued  him  and  commenced  to 
climb  the  tree,  but  as  it  climbed  he  drove  the  point  of 
his  poniard  (badik)  into  its  skull,  and  killed  it.  He 
then  robbed  it  of  its  whiskers,  and  thereafter,  on  his 
reaching  a  town,  everybody  fled  from  him  because  of 
the  whiskers  which  had  belonged  to  so  fierce  a  beast. 
The  Raja  of  that  country,  begging  for  one  of  them, 
and  giving  him  food,  he  presented  him  with  one  of  the 
whiskers  in  payment.  After  paying  his  way  in  a  similar 
manner  at  seven  successive  villages,  the  Petrified 
Pilgrim  at  length  reached  Mecca." 

"  Bores,"  or  "eagres,"  at  the  mouths  of  rivers,  and 
floods l  due  to  heavy  rain,  are  conceived  to  be  caused 
by  the  passage  of  some  gigantic  animal,  most  prob- 
ably a  sort  of  dragon,  as  in  the  case  of  landslips, 
which  will  be  mentioned  later. 

This  animal,  whose  passage  up  rivers  is  held  to 
cause  the  tidal  wave  or  bore,  is  called  Bena  in  Sel- 
angor.  It  is  a  matter  of  common  report  among 

1  "  The  Malays  give  the  names  '  Bah  ejaculated  my  head  boatman.  In 

Jantan'  and  'Bah  Betina,'  viz.  the  common  with  other  Malays,  he  held 

'  male '  and  the  '  female '  floods,  re-  the  belief  that  floods,  like  other  moving 

spectively  to  the  first  rising  of  a  freshet,  things,  go  in  couples.  The  first  to  come 

and  to  the  flood  which  sometimes  en-  is  the  male,  and  when  he  has  passed 

sues  after  the  waters  have  partially  upon  his  way  the  female  comes  after 

subsided.  The  latter  is  generally  sup-  him,  pursuing  him  hotly,  according  to 

posed  to  be  more  serious  than  the  the  custom  of  the  sex,  and  she  is  the 

former." — Cliff,  and  Swett.,  Ma,l.  Diet.  more  to  be  feared,  as  she  rushes  more 

s.v.  Bah.  furiously  than  does  her  fleeing  mate." 

"'If  this  be  the  likeness  of  the  male  — Cliff.,  Stud,  in  Brown  Humanity,  p. 

flood,  what  will  that  of  the  female  be  ?  '  213. 


Malays  at  Jugra,  on  the  Selangor  coast,  that  a  bore 
formerly  "  frequented "  the  Langat  river,  near  its 
mouth.  This  was  anterior  to  the  severance  of  the 
narrow  neck  of  land1  at  Bandar  that  divided  the 
old  channel  of  the  Langat  river  from  the  stream 
into  which  the  waters  of  the  Langat  now  flow, 
forming  the  short  cut  to  the  sea  called  the  Jugra 
Passage.  In  the  days  when  the  bore  came  up  the 
river  the  Malays  used  to  go  out  in  small  canoes 
or  dug-outs  to  "  sport  amongst  the  breakers "  (main 
gelombang),  frequently  getting  upset  for  their  pains. 
Eventually,  however  (I  was  told),  the  bore  was  killed 
by  a  Langat  Malay,  who  struck  it  upon  the  head  with 
a  stick  !  It  is  considered  that  this  must  be  true,  since 
there  is  no  bore  in  the  Langat  river  now ! 

Eclipses  (Gerhana)  of  the  sun  or  moon  are  con- 
sidered to  be  the  outward  and  visible  sign  of  the 
devouring  of  those  bodies2  by  a  sort  of  gigantic 
dragon  (ra/m) 3  or  dog  (anjing).  Hence  the  tumult 

1  This    neck    of    land    was    called  Vipra-'citti  and  Sinhika,  and  had  four 
"  Penarek  Prahu,"  or  the  "  Place  of  arms,  his  lower  part  ending  in  a  tail), 
the  dragging  (across)  of  Boats. "  he  was  the   instigator  of  all   mischief 

2  "  The  belief  (probably  borrowed  among  the  daityas,  and  when  the  gods 
from  the  Hindoos)  of  a  serpent  devour-  had    produced   the   amrita    or    nectar 
ing  the  sun  or  moon,  whenever  they  from  the  churned  ocean,  he  disguised 
are  eclipsed,  and  the  weird  lamentations  himself  like  one  of  them  and  drank  a 
of  the  people  during  the  continuance  portion  of  it,  but  the  sun  and  moon 
of  these  phenomena,  are  well  known."  having  detected  his  fraud  and  informed 
— Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  p.  358.  Vishnu,  the  latter  severed  his  head  and 

3  "  During     an    eclipse    they    (the  two  of  his  arms  from  the  rest  of  his 
Malays)  make  a  loud  noise  with  sound-  body  ;  the  portion  of  nectar  he  had 
ing  instruments  to  prevent  one  lumin-  swallowed  having  secured  his  immor- 
ary  from  devouring  the  other,  as  the  tality,  the  head  and  tail  were   trans- 
Chinese,  to  frighten  away  the  dragon."  ferred  to  the  stellar  sphere,  the  head 
— Marsden,  Hist,  of  Sum.  p.  157.      I  wreaking    its   vengeance   on    the   sun 
have  not  yet   met  with  the   explana-  and  moon  by  occasionally  swallowing 
tion  given  in  this  passage  of  Marsden's  them  for  a  time,  while  the  tail,  under 
work.  the    name   of  Ketu,  gave    birth    to    a 

"  Rahu,  a  daitya  or  demon  who  is  numerous  progeny  of  comets  and  fiery 

supposed  to  seize  the  sun  and  moon,  meteors."  —  Monier     Williams,     Skt. 

and  thus  cause  eclipses  (according  to  Diet.  s.v.  Rahu. 
the  common  myth  he   was  a   son   of 


made  during  an  eclipse  by  the  Malays,  who  imagine 
that  if  they  make  a  sufficient  din  they  will  frighten  the 
monster  away. 

The  following  is  an  excellent  description  of  a  lunar 
eclipse  from  the  Malay  point  of  view  : — 

"  One  night,  when  the  Moon  has  waxed  nearly  to 
the  full,  Pekan  resounds  with  a  babel  of  discordant 
noise.  The  large  brass  gongs,  in  which  the  devils  of 
the  Chinese  are  supposed  to  take  delight,  clang  and 
clash  and  bray  through  the  still  night  air ;  the  Malay 
drums  throb  and  beat  and  thud  ;  all  manner  of  shrill 
yells  fill  the  sky,  and  the  roar  of  a  thousand  native 
voices  rises  heavenwards,  or  rolls  across  the  white 
waters  of  the  river,  which  are  flecked  with  deep 
shadows  and  reflections.  The  jungles  on  the  far 
bank  take  up  the  sound  and  send  it  pealing  back  in 
recurring  ringing  echoes  till  the  whole  world  seems  to 
shout  in  chorus.  The  Moon  which  bathes  the  earth  in 
splendour,  the  Moon  which  is  so  dear  to  each  one  of 
us,  is  in  dire  peril  this  night,  for  that  fierce  monster, 
the  GerMna,1  whom  we  hate  and  loathe,  is  striving  to 
swallow  her.  You  can  mark  his  black  bulk  creeping 
over  her,  dimming  her  face,  consuming  her  utterly, 
while  she  suffers  in  the  agony  of  silence.  How  often 
in  the  past  has  she  served  us  with  the  light ;  how  often 
has  she  made  night  more  beautiful  than  day  for  our 
tired,  sun-dazed  eyes  to  look  upon  ;  and  shall  she  now 
perish  without  one  effort  on  our  part  to  save  her  by 
scaring  the  Monster  from  his  prey?  No  !  A  thousand 
times  no  !  So  we  shout,  and  clang  the  gongs,  and  beat 
the  drums,  till  all  the  animal  world  joins  in  the  tumult, 
and  even  inanimate  nature  lends  its  voice  to  swell  the 

1   Gtrh&na  is  from  a  Sanskr.  word  meaning   "eclipse."     The  name   of  the 
monster  is  Rahu. 

i  THE  MAN  IN  THE  MOON  13 

uproar  with  a  thousand  resonant  echoes.  At  last  the 
hated  Monster  reluctantly  retreats.  Our  war-cry  has 
reached  his  ears,  and  he  slinks  sullenly  away,  and 
the  pure,  sad,  kindly  Moon  looks  down  in  love  and 
gratitude  upon  us,  her  children,  to  whose  aid  she  owes 
her  deliverance."  l 

The  "  spots  on  the  moon  "2  are  supposed  to  repre- 
sent an  inverted  banyan  tree  (Beringin  songsang), 
underneath  which  an  aged  hunchback  is  seated  plait- 
ing strands  of  tree  bark  (pintal  tali  kulit  t'rap)  to  make 
a  fishing-line,  wherewith  he  intends  to  angle  for  every- 
thing upon  the  earth  as  soon  as  his  task  is  completed. 
It  has  never  been  completed  yet,  however,  for  a  rat 
always  gnaws  the  line  through  in  time  to  save  man- 
kind from  disaster,  despite  the  vigilance  of  the  old  man's 
cat,  which  is  always  lying  in  wait  for  the  offender.3  It 
is  perhaps  scarcely  necessary  to  add  that  when  the  line 
reaches  the  earth  the  end  of  the  world  will  come. 

" Bujang  ('single,'  'solitary,'  and  hence  in  a 
secondary  sense  '  unmarried ')  is  a  Sanskrit  word 
bhujangga,  'a  dragon.'  'Bujang  Malaka,'  a  moun- 
tain in  Perak,  is  said  by  the  Malays  of  that  State  to 
have  been  so  called  because  it  stands  alone,  and  could 
be  seen  from  the  sea  by  traders  who  plied  in  old  days 
between  the  Perak  river  and  the  once  flourishing  port 

1  Clifford,  Stud,  in  Brown  Humanity  >  and  was  taken  up  by  the  moon  into 

p.  50.     For  ceremonies  to  be  observed  her  arms.     This  is  no  doubt  the  real 

during  an  eclipse,  more  especially  by  explanation     of    the    Malay    phrase, 

women   in    travail,    vide   Birth    Cere-  " Bulan     bunting   pflandok"     ("the 

monies  (infra).  moon  is  great  with  the  mouse-deer  "), 

2  "They   (the   Malays)  observe  in  an    expression    often    used   when   the 
the  moon  an  old  man  sitting  under  a  moon  is  three-quarters  full. 
bZringin  tree  (the  Banyan,  Ficus  In-  3  "  They  tell  of  a  man  in  the  moon, 
dica)." — Maxwell,  in  J. R.  A. S.,  S.B.,  who  is  continually  employed  in  spin- 
No.  7,  p.  27,     In  Sanskrit  mythology  ning  cotton,  but  that  every  night  a  rat 
the  spots  on  the  moon  are  supposed  gnaws  his  thread,  and  obliges  him  to 
to  be  caused  by  a  hare  or  antelope,  begin  his  work  afresh." — Marsd.,  Hist. 
which  being  hard  pressed  by  a  hunter  of  Sum.  p.  187. 
appealed  to  the  moon  for  protection, 


of  Malacca.  But  it  is  just  as  likely  to  have  been  named 
from  some  forgotten  legend  in  which  a  dragon  played 
a  part.  Dragons  and  mountains  are  generally  con- 
nected in  Malay  ideas.  The  caves  in  the  limestone 
hill  Gunong  Pondok,  in  Perak,  arc  said  to  be  haunted 
by  a  genius  loci  in  the  form  of  a  snake  who  is  popularly 
called  Si  Bujang.  This  seems  to  prove  beyond  doubt 
the  identity  of  bujang  with  bhujangga?  The  snake- 
spirit  of  Gunong  Pondok  is  sometimes  as  small  as  a 
viper,  and  sometimes  as  large  as  a  python,  but  he  may 
always  be  identified  by  his  spotted  neck,  which  re- 
sembles that  of  a  wood-pigeon  (tekukur}.  Landslips 
on  the  mountains,  which  are  tolerably  frequent  during 
very  heavy  rains,  and  which,  being  produced  by  the 
same  cause,  are  often  simultaneous  with  the  flooding 
of  rivers  and  the  destruction  of  property,  are  attri- 
buted by  the  natives  to  the  sudden  breaking  forth  of 
dragons  (naga),  which  have  been  performing  religious 
penance  (ber-tapa) 2  in  the  mountains,  and  which  are 
making  their  way  to  the  sea."3 

So,  too,  many  waterfalls  and  rocks  of  unusual  shape 
are  thought  to  owe  their  remarkable  character  to  the 
agency  of  demons.  This,  however,  is  a  subject  which 
will  be  treated  more  fully  later  on. 

"  Palangi,  the  usual  Malay  word  for  the  rainbow, 
means  'striped.'  The  name  varies,  however,  in  different 
localities.  In  Perak  it  is  called palangi  minum^  (from 
a  belief  that  it  is  the  path  by  which  spirits  descend  to 
the  earth  to  drink),  while  in  Penang  it  is  known  as 

1  It  is,  however,  also  possible  that  2  Sanskrit  tapasya. 

there  may  be  two  "  bujangs,"  and  that  3  Maxwell,  in  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No. 

we   have  here  a  simple  case  of  what  7,  p.  28. 

philologists  call  "confluence,"  so  that  4  In   Selangor   I  have   also   heard 

the  derivation,  though  quite  possible,  "Ular  mznum,"  "  the  snake  drinks. " 
must  not  be  accepted  without  reserve. 


ular  danu  ('the  snake  danu').  In  P£rak,  a  rainbow 
which  stretches  in  an  arch  across  the  sky  is  called 
bantal  ('  the  pillow  '),  for  some  reason  that  I  have  been 
unable  to  ascertain.1  When  only  a  small  portion  of  a 
rainbow  is  visible,  which  seems  to  touch  the  earth,  it 
is  called  tunggul  (f\h.z.  flag'),2  and  if  this  is  seen  at  some 
particular  point  of  the  compass — the  west,  I  think — 
it  betokens,  the  Perak  Malays  say,  the  approaching 
death  of  a  Raja.  Another  popular  belief  is  that  the 
ends  of  the  rainbow  rest  upon  the  earth,  and  that  if 
one  could  dig  at  the  exact  spot  covered  by  one  end  of 
it,  an  untold  treasure  would  be  found  there.  Unfor- 
tunately, no  one  can  ever  arrive  at  the  place."3 

"  Sunset  is  the  hour  when  evil  spirits  of  all  kinds 
have  most  power.4  In  Perak,  children  are  often  called 
indoors  at  this  time  to  save  them  from  unseen  dangers. 
Sometimes,  with  the  same  object,  a  woman  belonging 
to  the  house  where  there  are  young  children,  will  chew 
kuniet  terus  (an  evil-smelling  root),  supposed  to  be 
much  disliked  by  demons  of  all  kinds,  and  spit  it  out 
at  seven  different  points  as  she  walks  round  the  house. 

"  The  yellow  glow  which  spreads  over  the  western 
sky,  when  it  is  lighted  up  with  the  last  rays  of  the 
dying  sun,  is  called  mambang  kuning  ('the  yellow 
deity '),  a  term  indicative  of  the  superstitious  dread 
associated  with  this  particular  period." 5 

1  A  Selangor  Malay  told  me  that  3  Maxwell,  /. R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7, 
the  full  phrase  was  "  Ular  Danu  btrban-  p.  2 1 . 

tal"  "the  snake  Danu  is  pillowed  (in  4  So,  too,  midday,  especially  when  a 

sleeP)-  light  rain  is  falling  and  the  sun  shining 

2  A   fuller   expression    is   tunggul-  ftt  Qne  and  the  samfi  u         -s  u* 

tunggul  mtmbangun.^     A  double  ram-  r        ded  as          j,    d         rous. 
bow  is  calIed/a/a//£T  sa-klamin. 

Maxwell  points  out,  in  a  note,  that  6  Maxwell,   loc.    cit.      Vide   infra, 

dhanuk,  in  Hindustani,  means  a  bow,  Chap.  IV.  pp.  92,  93. 
and  is  a  common  term  in  India,  among 
Hindus,  for  the  rainbow. 


(a)  Creation  of  Man 

A  COMMON  feature  in  Malay  romances  and  legends 
is  a  description  of  the  supernatural  development  of  a 
young  child  in  the  interior  of  some  vegetable  produc- 
tion, usually  a  bamboo. 

Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell  has  pointed  out  the  fact  of  the 
existence,  both  in  Malay  and  Japanese  legends,  of  the 
main  features  of  this  story,  to  which  he  assigns  a 
Buddhistic  origin.  He  tells  the  story  as  follows  : — 

"  The  Raja  of  the  Bamboo. — Some  years  ago  I 
collected  a  number  of  legends  current  among  Malayan 
tribes  having  as  their  principal  incident  the  supernatural 
development  of  a  prince,  princess,  or  demi-god  in  the 
stem  of  a  bamboo,  or  tree,  or  the  interior  of  some 
closed  receptacle.1  I  omitted,  however,  to  mention 
that  this  very  characteristic  Malay  myth  occurs  in  the 
"  Sri  Rama,"  a  Malay  prose  hikayat?  which,  as  its 

1  JournaloJ 'the Royal Asiatic Society ',  incarnated  from  the  hollow  part  of  a 

N.S.  vol.  xiii.  part  iv.    Cp.  also  the  note  bamboo."     See  also  J.R.A.S.,   S.B., 

to  page  8  supra,  in  which  the  Golden  No.  9,  p.  91. 

Dragon    is    made    to    say,    "I    have  2  Hikayat ;  i.e.  "romance." 
neither  father  nor  mother,  but   I  was 

CHAP.  1 1  5  U PERN  A  TURAL  BIR  THS  \  7 

name  betokens,  professes  to  describe  the  adventures 
of  the  hero  of  the  Ramayana. 

"  Roorda  van  Eysinga's  edition  of  the  Sri  Rama 
opens  with  an  account  of  how  Maharaja  Dasaratha 
sent  his  Chief  Mantri,1  Puspa  Jaya  Karma,  to  search 
for  a  suitable  place  at  which  to  found  a  settlement. 
The  site  having  been  found  and  cleared,  the  narrative 
proceeds  as  follows  : — 

"  '  Now  there  was  a  clump  of  the  belong*  bamboo 
(sarumpun  buluh  belong),  the  colour  of  which  was  like 
gold  of  ten  touch  (amas  sapuloh  mutu),  and  its  leaves 
like  silver.  All  the  trees  which  grew  near  bent  in  its 
direction,  and  it  looked  like  a  state  umbrella  (payong 
manuwangi*\  The  Mantri  and  people  chopped  at  it, 
but  as  fast  as  they  cut  down  a  branch  on  one  side,  a 
fresh  one  shot  forth  on  the  other,  to  the  great  astonish- 
ment of  all  the  Rajas,  Mantris,  and  warriors.  Puspa 
Vikrama  Jaya  hastened  back  to  King  Dasaratha  and 
laid  the  matter  before  him.  The  latter  was  greatly 
surprised,  and  declared  that  he  would  go  himself  the 
next  day  and  see  the  bamboo  cut  down.  Next  day  he 
set  out  on  a  white  elephant,  attended  by  a  splendid 
train  of  chiefs  and  followers,  and  on  reaching  the  spot 
ordered  the  bamboo  clump  to  be  cut  down.  Vikrama 
Puspa  Jaya  pointed  it  out,  shaded  by  the  other  forest 
trees.  The  king  perceived  that  it  was  of  very  elegant 
appearance,  and  that  an  odour  like  spices  and  musk 
proceeded  from  it.  He  told  Puspa  Jaya  Vikrama  to 
cut  it  down,  and  the  latter  drew  his  sword,  which  was 
as  big  as  the  stem  of  a  cocoa-nut  tree,  and  with  one 
stroke  cut  down  one  of  the  bamboos.  But  immediately 
a  fresh  stem  shot  forth  on  the  other  side,  and  this  hap- 

1  Mantri;  i.e.  "Minister  of  State."  3  Manu-wangi;  perhaps  a  mistake  for 

2  Bftong ;  i.e.  "big."  manuwanggi,  cp.  btraduwanggi,  infra. 



pened  as  often  as  a  stroke  was  given.  Then  the  king 
grew  wroth,  and  getting  down  from  his  elephant  he 
drew  his  own  sword  and  made  a  cut  with  it  at  the 
bamboo,  which  severed  a  stem.  Then,  by  the  divine 
decree  of  the  Dewatas,  the  king  became  aware  of  a 
female  form  in  the  bamboo  clump  seated  on  a  highly 
ornamented  platform  (geta),  her  face  shining  like  the 
full  moon  when  it  is  fourteen  days  old,  and  the  colour 
of  her  body  being  like  gold  of  ten  touch.  On  this, 
King  Dasaratha  quickly  unloosed  his  girdle  and 
saluted  the  princess.  Then  he  lifted  her  on  to  his 
elephant  and  took  her  to  his  palace  escorted  by  music 
and  singing.'" l 

I  myself  have  heard  among  the  Selangor  Malays 
similar  legends  to  the  above,  which,  as  already  pointed 
out,  are  common  in  Malay  romances.  A  parallel  myth 
is  described  in  the  following  words  :— 

"  Now,  the  Perak  river  overflows  its  banks  once  a 
year,  and  sometimes  there  are  very  great  floods. 
Soon  after  the  marriage  of  Nakhodah  Kasim  with 
the  white  Semang,2  an  unprecedented  flood  occurred 
and  quantities  of  foam  came  down  the  river.  Round 
the  piles  of  the  bathing-house,  which,  in  accordance 
with  Malay  custom,  stood  in  the  bed  of  the  river 
close  to  the  bank  in  front  of  the  house,  the  floating 
volumes  of  foam  collected  in  a  mass  the  size  of  an 
elephant.  Nakhodah  Kasim's  wife  went  to  bathe, 
and  finding  this  island  of  froth  in  her  way  she 
attempted  to  move  it  away  with  a  stick  ;  she  removed 
the  upper  portion  of  it  and  disclosed  a  female  infant 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,   No.    17.      Notes       mates  to  that  of  the  Negritos  of  the 
and  Queries,  No.  4,  sec.  94.  Andaman  Islands  and  the  Philippines, 

2  Semangs   are  aboriginal  non-Mu-       but  the  one  referred  to  in  this  legend 
hammadan  inhabitants  of  the  interior       had  white  blood,  which  is  considered 
of  the  Peninsula.     Their  type  approxi-       by  Malays  to  be  the  royal  colour. 

ii  CREATION  OF  MAN  19 

sitting  in  the  midst  of  it  enveloped  all  round  with 
cloud-like  foam.  The  child  showed  no  fear,  and  the 
white  Semang,  carefully  lifting  her,  carried  her  up  to  the 
house,  heralding  her  discovery  by  loud  shouts  to  her 
husband.  The  couple  adopted  the  child  willingly,  for 
they  had  no  children,  and  they  treated  her  thence- 
forward as  their  own.  They  assembled  the  villagers 
and  gave  them  a  feast,  solemnly  announcing  their 
adoption  of  the  daughter  of  the  river  and  their 
intention  of  leaving  to  her  everything  that  they 

"  The  child  was  called  Tan  Puteh,  but  her  father 
gave  her  the  name  of  Teh  Purba.1  As  she  grew  up 
the  wealth  of  her  foster-parents  increased ;  the  village 
grew  in  extent  and  population,  and  gradually  became  an 
important  place."  2 

The  usual  story  of  the  first  creation  of  man,  how- 
ever, appears  to  be  a  Malay  modification  of  Arabic 

Thus  we  are  told  that  man  was  created  from  the 
four  elements — earth,  air,  water,  and  fire — in  a  way 
which  the  following  extract,  taken  from  a  Selangor 
charm-book,  will  explain  : — 

"  God  Almighty  spake  unto  Gabriel,  saying, 
'  Be  not  disobedient,  O  Gabriel, 
But  go  and  get  me  the  Heart  of  the  Earth.' 
But  he  could  not  get  the  Heart  of  the  Earth. 
'  I  will  not  give  it,'  said  the  Earth. 
Then  went  the  Prophet  Israfel  to  get  it, 
But  he  could  not  get  the  Heart  of  the  Earth. 

1  Teh,  short  for  Putch,  "white";  on  a  certain  day  that  the  river  of 

Pfirba,  or  Pfirva,  Sanskrit  "  first."  Palembang  brought  down  a  foam-bell 

This  name  is  also  given  to  the  first  of  uncommon  size,  in  which  appeared 

Malay  Raja  in  the  Sajarah  Malayu.  a  young  girl  of  extreme  beauty."  She 

"  J. R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  9,  pp.  90,  was  adopted  by  the  Raja,  and  "  named 

91.  For  a  similar  story  vide  Leyden's  Putri  Tunjong  Bui,  or  the  Princess 

Malay  A  mi  (-.Is,  p.  29:  "It  happened  Foam-bell." 


Then  went  Michael  to  get  it, 

But  he  could  not  get  the  Heart  of  the  Earth. 

Then  went  Azrael  to  get  it, 

And  at  last  he  got  the  Heart  of  the  Earth. 

When  he  got  the  Heart  of  the  Earth 

The  empyrean  and  crystalline  spheres  shook, 

And  the  whole  Universe  (shook). 

When  he  got  the  Heart  of  the  Earth  he l  made  from  it  the  Image  of 


But  the  Heart  of  the  Earth  was  then  too  hard  ; 
He  mixed  Water  with  it,  and  it  became  too  soft, 
(So)  he  mixed  Fire  with  it,  and  at  last  struck  out  the  image  of  Adam. 
Then  he  raised  up  the  image  of  Adam, 
And  craved  Life  for  it  from  Almighty  God, 
And  God  Almighty  gave  it  Life. 

Then  sneezed  God  Almighty,  and  the  image  of  Adam  brake  in  pieces, 
And  he  (Azrael)  returned  to  remake  the  image  of  Adam. 
Then  God  Almighty  commanded  to  take  steel  of  Khorassan, 
And  drive  it  down  his  back,  so  that  it  became  the  thirty-three  bones, 
The  harder  steel  at  the  top,  the  softer  below  it. 
The  harder  steel  shot  up  skywards, 
And  the  softer  steel  penetrated  earthwards. 
Thus  the  image  of  Adam  had  life,  and  dwelt  in  Paradise. 
(There)  Adam  beheld  (two  ?)  peacocks  of  no  ordinary  beauty, 
And  the  Angel  Gabriel  appeared. 
'  Verily,  O  Angel  Gabriel,  I  am  solitary, 
Easier  is  it  to  live  in  pairs,  I  crave  a  wife.' 
God  Almighty  spake,  saying,  '  Command  Adam 
To  pray  at  dawn  a  prayer  of  two  genuflexions.' 
Then  Adam  prayed,  and  our  Lady  Eve  descended, 
And  was  captured  by  the  Prophet  Adam ; 
But  before  he  had  finished  his  prayer  she  was  taken  back, 
Therefore  Adam  prayed  the  prayer  of  two  genuflexions  as  desired, 
And  at  the  last  obtained  our  Lady  Eve. 
When  they  were  married  (Eve)  bore  twins  every  time, 
Until  she  had  borne  forty-four  children, 
And  the  children,  too,  were  wedded,  handsome  with  handsome,  and 

plain  with  plain." 

The  magician  who  dictated  the  above  account 
stated  that  when  Azrael  stretched  forth  his  hand  to 
take  the  Heart  of  the  Earth,  the  Earth-spirit  caught 
hold  of  his  middle  finger,  which  yielded  to  the  strain, 
and  thus  became  longer  than  the  rest,  and  received  its 
Malay  name  of  the  "  Devil's  Finger"  (jari bantu). 

1  It  is  Gabriel  who  performs  this  office  in  the  account  which  follows. 


A  parallel  account  adds  that  the  Heart  of  the  Earth 
was  white,  and  gives  a  fuller  description  of  the  inter- 
view between  Azrael  and  his  formidable  antagonist,  the 
Earth.  After  saluting  the  latter  in  the  orthodox 
Muhammadan  fashion,  Azrael  explains  his  mission, 
and  is  met  by  a  point-blank  refusal.  "  I  will  not 
give  it,"  said  the  Earth  (referring  to  its  Heart), 
"  forasmuch  as  I  was  so  created  by  God  Almighty, 
and  if  you  take  away  my  Heart  I  shall  assuredly  die." 
At  this  brusque,  though  perhaps  natural  retort,  the 
archangel  loses  his  temper,  and  rudely  exclaims  that 
he  "  will  take  the  Earth's  Heart  whether  it  will 
or  no."  Here  Azrael  "gave  the  Earth  a  push  with 
his  right  hand  and  his  left,  and  grasping  at  the  Heart 
of  the  Earth,  got  hold  of  it  and  carried  it  back  to  the 
presence  of  God."  God  now  summons  Gabriel  and 
orders  him  to  mould  (lit.  forge)  the  image  of  Adam. 
Then  Gabriel  took  the  lump  of  earth  which  was  the 
Earth's  Heart  and  mixed  it  first  with  water  to  soften 
it,  then,  as  it  was  too  soft,  with  fire  to  harden  it,  and 
when  the  image  was  made,  obtained  life  from  God  to 
put  into  it.1  [The  breaking  of  the  first  image  which 

1   ' '  Concerning  the  creation  of  Adam,  remorse,  for  which  reason  God  appointed 

here  intimated,  the  Mohammedans  have  that  angel  to  separate  the  souls  from 

several  peculiar  traditions.      They  say  the  bodies,  being  therefore  called  the 

the  angels  Gabriel,  Michael,  and  Israfil  angel  of  death.      The   earth   he   had 

were  sent  by  God,  one  after  another,  to  taken  was  carried  into  Arabia,   to  a 

fetch  for  that  purpose  seven  handfuls  place  between  Mecca  and  Tayef,  where, 

of  earth  from  different  depths,  and  of  being  first  kneaded  by  the  angels,    it 

different  colours  (whence  some  account  was  afterwards  fashioned  by  God  him- 

for  the  various  complexions  of  mankind);  self  into  a  human  form,  and  left  to  dry 

but  the  Earth  being  apprehensive  of  the  for   the   space   of  forty   days,    or,    as 

consequence,    and    desiring    them    to  others  say,  as  many  years,  the  angels 

represent   her   fear    to   God    that    the  in  the  meantime  often  visiting  it,  and 

creature   He  designed  to  form  would  Eblis  (then  one  of  the  angels  who  are 

rebel  against  Him,  and  draw  down  His  nearest   to   God's  presence,  afterwards 

curse  upon  her,  they  returned  without  the  devil)  among  the  rest ;  but  he,  not 

performing  God's  command  ;    where-  contented  with  looking  on  it,  kicked  it 

upon  He  sent  Azrael  on  the  same  errand,  with  his  foot  till  it  rung,  and  knowing 

who  executed  his  commission  without  God  designed  that  creature  to  be  his 


was  made,  and  the  making  of  the  second,  are  here 
omitted].  Finally,  the  creation  of  "our  Lady"  Eve  and 
the  birth  of  her  first-born  are  described,  the  latter 
occasion  being  accompanied  by  a  thick  darkness,  which 
compelled  Adam  to  take  off  his  turban  and  beat  the 
child  therewith  in  order  to  dispel  the  evil  influences 
(badi)  which  had  attended  its  birth.1 

The  following  extract  (from  a  Malay  treatise  quoted 
by  Newbold)  fairly  describes  the  general  state  of  Malay 
ideas  respecting  the  constitution  of  the  human  body  : — 

"  Plato,  Socrates,  Galen,  Aristotle,  and  other  philo- 
sophers affirm  that  God  created  man  of  a  fixed  number 
of  bones,  blood-vessels,  etc.  For  instance,  the  skull  is 
composed  of  5  J  bones,  the  place  of  smell  and  sense  of  7 
bones,  between  this  and  the  neck  are  32  bones.  The 
neck  is  composed  of  7  bones,  and  the  back  of  24  bones  ; 
208  bones  are  contained  in  the  other  members  of  the 
body.  In  all  there  are  360  bones  and  360  blood-vessels 
in  a  man's  body.  The  brains  weigh  306  miscals,  the 
blood  573.  The  total  of  all  the  bones,  blood-vessels, 
large  and  small,  and  gristles,  amounts  to  1093  ;  and 
the  hairs  of  the  head  to  six  lacs  and  4000.  The  frame 
of  man  is  divided  into  40  great  parts,  which  are  again 

superior,  took  a  secret  resolution  never  reft  in  pieces  and  scattered  into  the 

to  acknowledge  him  as  such.      After  air.     Those  fragments  of  the  first  great 

this  God  animated  the  figure  of  clay  Failure  are  the  spirits  of  earth  and  sea 

and  endued  it  with  an  intelligent  soul,  and  air. 

and  when  He  had  placed  him  in  para-  "The  Creator  then  formed  another 

disc,  formed  Eve  out  of  his  left  side. " —  clay   figure,    but    into    this   one    He 

Sale's  Koran,  ch.   ii.  (of  translation),  wrought  some  iron,   so  that   when  it 

p.  4  (note).  received   the  vital  spark  it  withstood 

1  "  The  Creator  determined  to  make  the  strain  and   became  Man.       That 

man,   and  for  that  purpose   He  took  man  was  Adam,  and  the  iron  that  is  in 

some  clay  from  the  earth  and  fashioned  the  constitution  of  his  descendants  has 

it  into  the  figure  of  a  man.     Then  He  stood  them  in  good  stead.     When  they 

took  the  Spirit  of  Life  to  endue  this  lose    it  they   become   of    little    more 

body  with  vitality,  and  placed  the  spirit  account  than  their  prototype  the  first 

on  the  head  of  the  figure.      But  the  failure." — Swettenham,  Malay  Sketches t 

spirit  was  strong,  and  the  body,  being  p.  199. 
only  clay,  could  not  hold  it,  and  was 


subdivided.  Four  elements  enter  into  his  composition, 
viz.  air,  fire,  earth,  and  water.  With  these  elements 
are  connected  four  essences — the  soul  or  spirit  with 
air,  love  with  fire,  concupiscence  with  earth,  and  wisdom 
with  water."  l 

(b)  Sanctity  of  the  Body 

In  dealing  with  this  branch  of  the  subject  I  will 
first  take  the  case  of  the  kings  and  priestly  magicians 
who  present  the  most  clearly-  marked  examples  of 
personal  sanctity  which  are  now  to  be  found  among 
Malays,  and  will  then  describe  the  chief  features  of 
the  sanctity  ascribed  to  all  ranks  alike  in  respect  of 
certain  special  parts  of  the  ordinary  human  anatomy. 
The  theory  of  the  king  as  the  Divine  Man  is  held 
perhaps  as  strongly  in  the  Malay  region  as  in  any 
other  part  of  the  world,  a  fact  which  is  strikingly 
emphasised  by  the  alleged  right  of  Malay  monarchs 
"  to  slay  at  pleasure,  without  being  guilty  of  a 
crime"  Not  only  is  the  king's  person  considered 
sacred,  but  the  sanctity  of  his  body  is  believed  to 
communicate  itself  to  his  regalia,  and  to  slay  those 
who  break  the  royal  taboos.  Thus  it  is  firmly  be- 
lieved that  any  one  who  seriously  offends  the  royal 
person,  who  touches  (even  for  a  moment)  or  who 
imitates  (even  with  the  king's  permission)  the  chief 
objects  of  the  regalia,2  or  who  wrongfully  makes  use 

1  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  pp.  351,  speak    personally,   as   when   a   set   of 
352.     In  Selangor,  some  of  the  greater  models  of  the   Selangor  regalia  were 
bones,  at  least,  have  their  own  mystic  being   made    for    me,    with    the    late 
nomenclature,  e.g.  the  backbone,  which  Sultan's  full  permission  and  knowledge, 
is  called  tiang  'arasb,  or  the  "  Pillar  I  found  it  impossible  to  get  them  made 
of  the  Heavens."  really  like  the  originals  either  in  shape 

2  Of  the  superstition  which  forbids  or  size,  the  makers  alleging  their  fear 
the  imitation  of  the  royal  insignia  I  can  of  being   struck  dead  in  spite  of  this 


of  any  of  the  insignia  or  privileges  of  royalty,  will 
be  kena  daulat,  i.e.  struck  dead,  by  a  quasi -electric 
discharge  of  that  Divine  Power  which  the  Malays 
suppose  to  reside  in  the  king's  person,1  and  which 
is  called  "  Daulat "  or  "Royal  Sanctity."  Before  I 
proceed,  however,  to  discuss  this  power,  it  will  be  best 
to  give  some  description  of  the  regalia  in  which  it 
resides  : — 

Of  Malacca  Newbold  says  :  "  The  articles  of  Malay 
regalia  usually  consist  of  a  silasila,  or  book  of  genealo- 
gical descent,  a  code  of  laws,  a  vest  or  baju,  and  a 
few  weapons,  generally  a  kris,  kleywang,  or  spear. " : 

"  The  limbing  is  a  sort  of  lance ;  the  tombak 
bandrang  a  spear  of  state,  four  or  seven  of  which  are 
usually  carried  before  the  chiefs  in  the  interior  of  the 
Peninsula.  The  handle  is  covered  with  a  substance 
flowing  from  it  like  a  horse  -  tail,  dyed  crimson, 
sometimes  crimson  and  white ;  this  is  generally  of 

So  in  Leyden's  translation  of  the  Malay  Annals 
(1821)  we  read — 

"  My  name  is  Bichitram  Shah,  who  am  raja. 
.  .  .  This  is  the  sword,  Chora  sa  mendang  kian 
(i.e.  mandakini\  and  that  is  the  lance,  Limbuar  (i.e. 
limbuara) ;  this  is  the  signet,  Cayu  Gampit,  which  is 
employed  in  correspondence  with  rajas."' 

"  The  Chora  sa  medang  kian  (i.e.  mandakini)  is  the 

permission  by  this   Divine    Power   or  *  "  The  kabesaran  or  regalia  of  every 

"Daulat"    if    they  were     to    imitate  petty  state  is  supposed  to  be  endowed 

them  too  accurately.      In    Perak   the  with  supernatural  powers,  for  instance 

custom     would     appear    to    be    less  that  of  the  ex-Panghulu  of  Naning." 

strict.       Thus    from    Malay    Sketches  — Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  p.  193. 

(p.    215)   we    may  gather  that  in  the  2  Ibid. 

"silver"  state  even  the  most  sacred  3  Ibid.  p.  195. 

pieces  of    the  regalia  accompany  the  4  Leyden,  Malay  Annals,  pp.  22-23. 

royal  party  upon  their  annual  expedi-  The  words  in  brackets  are  mine. — W.  S. 
tion  to  seek  for  turtles'  eggs. 


celebrated  sword  with  which  Peramas  Cumunbang 
killed  the  enormous  serpent  Sicatimuna,  which  ravaged 
the  country  of  Menangkabowe  about  the  beginning  of 
the  twelfth  century." 

Of  the  Perak  regalia  we  read  :  "Tan  Saban  was 
commanded  by  his  mistress  to  open  negotiations  with 
Johor,  and  this  having  been  done,  a  prince  of  the  royal 
house  of  that  kingdom,  who  traced  his  descent  from  the 
old  line  of  Menangkabau,  sailed  for  Perak  to  assume 
the  sovereignty.  He  brought  with  him  the  insignia  of 
royalty,  namely,  the  royal  drums  (gandang  nobat\  the 
pipes  (nafiri),  the  flutes  (sarunei  and  bangsi\  the 
betel-box  (puan  naga  taru\  the  sword  (chora  man- 
dakini),  the  sword  (perbujang\  the  sceptre  (kayu gamit\ 
the  jewel  (kamala),  the  surat  chiri,  the  seal  of  state 
(chap  halilintar),  and  the  umbrella  (ubar-ubar\  All 
these  were  enclosed  in  a  box  called  Baninan"' 

In  Selangor  the  regalia  consisted  of  the  royal  instru- 
ments of  music — (the  big  State  Drum  or  naubat,  beaten 
at  the  king's  coronation ;  the  two  small  State  Drums 
(gendang) ;  the  two  State  Kettle-drums  (langkara)  \ 
the  lempiri  or  State  Trumpet,  and  the  serunei  or 
State  Flute — to  which  perhaps  a  bangsi  should  be 
added,  as  in  the  Perak  list) — which  were  seldom,  if 
ever,  moved,  and  the  following  articles  which  were 
carried  in  procession  on  state  occasions  : 3 — 

1  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  p.  199  ;  this  supposition  is  accepted,  the  name 

cp.  Leyden,  Mai.  Annals,  pp.  38,  39.  would  mean  "lion  of  the  world,"  vide 

Limbuara,  limbuana,  or  slmbuana  (  =  App.  xxviii.-xxx. 

singkabuana)  is  the  name  given  to  the  a  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  9,  pp.  91,  92. 

lance  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman,  (vide  3  It     would     appear     from     Malay 

Chap.  V.  p.  ii 8),  whose  Kris  is  called  romances    that    the    full    complement 

saltngkisa.      It  has  been  suggested  that  of   musical    instruments    forming   part 

singhabuana  may  be  composed  of  two  of  a  royal  orchestra  was,  at  all  events 

Sanskrit  words  meaning   "  lion  "  and  sometimes,   twelve.      Thus  when   S'ri 

"  world,"  but  put  in  the  Malay  order,  Rama  is  bidden  by  the  astrologers  to 

which  is  the  opposite  of  Sanskrit.     If  get  up  an  expedition  by  water  for  the 


1.  The  royal  Betel-box. 

2.  The  Long  K'ris — a  kind  of  rapier  used  for  Malay  executions. 

3.  The  two  royal  Swords ;  one  on  the  right  hand  and  one  on 

the  left  (all  of  the  articles  mentioned  hitherto  being  carried 
in  front  of  the  Sultan). 

4.  The  royal  "  Fringed "  Umbrella  (payong  ubor-ubor\  carried 

behind  the  right-hand  sword-bearer. 

5.  The  royal  "  Cuspadore,"  carried  behind  the  left-hand  sword- 


6.  The  royal  Tobacco-box,  carried  at  the  Sultan's  back. 

7.  The  eight  royal  tufted  Lances  (tombak  bendrang  or  bandan- 

gan),  whose  bearers  were  followed  by  two  personal  attendants, 
the  latter  of  whom  attended,  besides,  to  anything  that  was 
broken  or  damaged ;  so  that  the  procession  numbered 
seventeen  persons  in  all.1 

Of  the  Pahang  regalia  I  have  not  been  able  to  ob- 
tain a  list  with  any  pretensions  to  completeness,  but 
from  a  remark  by  Mr.  Clifford  (the  present  Resident) 
in  one  of  his  books,  they  would  appear  to  be  essen- 
tially the  same  as  those  of  the  other  Federated  States.2 

A  list  of  the  Jelebu  regalia  (given  me  by  Ungku 
Said  Kechil  of  Jelebu)  ran  as  follows  : — 

1.  A  single-bladed  Sword  (pedang pemanchor). 

2.  The  Long  K'ris  (Kris  panjang,penyalang},  used  for  executions. 

3.  The  royal  Lances  (tombak  bendrang). 

4.  The  royal  Umbrella  (payong  kabesaran). 

5.  The  royal  Standard  and  Pennants  (tunggul  ular-ular). 

amusement  of  his   Princess,    "dresses  called   tombak    b2rch?ranggah    or    the 

of  honour  were  given  to  the  attend-  "  Branching    Lance."     The    ordinary 

ants,    and  musical  instruments  of  the  lances    might    be    borrowed    by    the 

twelve    kinds   were   got   together." —  people,   and  carried,   for  example,  in 

Maxw.,  in  Sri  Rama,  J.R.A.S.^  S.H.,  the  procession  escorting  a  bridegroom 

No.  17,  p.  93.  (by  virtue  of  his  supposed  "one  day's 

1  This  list  was  given  me  by  H.H.  sovereignty,"  Raja  sa-hari)  to  the  house 

Raja    Bot   of  Selangor.     Besides   the  of  his  bride,  but  the  trident  never, 

above   there  are   several  royal   "pro-  2  "All  the  insignia  of  royalty  were 

perties "  not  usually  included    in  any  hastily  fashioned  by  the  goldsmiths  of 

list  of  regalia.     These  are  H.H. 's  chain  Penjum,  and  whenever   To'    Raja   or 

jacket  (baju  rantef) ;  a  species  of  shield  Wan   Bong   appeared   in   public  they 

or  targe,  said  to  be  made  of  brass,  and  were  accompanied   by   pages   bearing 

called  otar-otar ;  H.H.'s  seal,  and  pos-  betel-boxes,  swords,   and    silken  um- 

sibly  his  mat  and  the  dish  he  ate  from.  brellas,   as    in    the   manner   of  Malay 

One  of  the  tombak  belonging  to  H.H.  kings." — Cliff.,  In  Court  and  Kampong, 

was    a    species   of  trident,    and   was  p.  115. 


6.  The  royal   Ceiling -cloth  and    Hangings   (tabir,   langit-langit 


7.  The  "  Moving  Mountains "  (gttnong  dua  berangkat\  perhaps 

the  names  of  two  peaked  pillows. 

8.  The  royal  Drums  (gendang  naubat) ;  said   to  be  "  headed  " 

with  the  skins  of  lice  (kulit  tuma)  and  to  emit  a  single 
chord  of  twelve  tones  when  struck  (dua-tflas  bunyi  sakali 

~,  ,  ~  .  /7-    ...  .         .    . .  .x  "i  Each  of  these  was 

9.  The  royal  Trumpet  (lempirt  or  «&**/).  I      alsQ  gaid  tQ  emit 

10.  The  roya  Gong.  \        si     le  chord    f 

1 1.  The  royal  Guitar  (kechapt).  }      ^  notes. 

12.  The  royal  rcbab  or  Malay  fiddle. 

This  latter  peculiarity  (of  the  multiplication  of 
notes)  is  quite  in  accordance  with  the  traditions  of 
the  king's  musical  instruments  in  Malay  romances. 
Thus  of  Raja  Donan's  magic  flute  we  are  told,  "The 
first  time  (that  he  sounded  it),  the  flute  gave  forth  the 
sounds  of  twelve  instruments,  the  second  time  it  played 
as  if  twenty -four  instruments  were  being  sounded, 
and  the  third  time  it  played  like  thirty-six  different 
instruments."  No  wonder  we  are  told  that  "the 
Princesses  Che  Ambong  and  Che  Muda  dissolved 
in  tears,  and  the  music  had  to  be  stopped." * 

My  informant  declared  that  these  objects  came 
into  existence  of  themselves  (terjali  sendiri),  at 
a  spot  between  the  two  peaks  of  a  burning 
mountain  {gunong  merapi}  in  the  country  of 
Menangkabau  in  Sumatra.  He  also  averred  that 
"rain  could  not  rot  them  nor  sun  blister  them," 
and  that  any  one  who  "  brushed  past  them " 
(di-lintas)  would  fall  to  the  ground;2  whilst  no 
fewer  than  seven  buffaloes  have  to  be  slaughtered 

1  Maxw.  in  Raja  Donan.J.R.  A.  S.,  Pfsaka   di  toras   (?  turis)  di-tHla- 
S.S.,  No.  18,  p.  253.  dan, 

"  To1  lapok  de'  hujan,  P/saka  di-lintas  tumbang." 
To?  ttkang  d<?  panas, 




before   the    "  moving    mountains "   (when    worn    out) 
can  be  replaced.1 

An  enumeration  of  the  writer's  regalia  often  forms 
an  important  part  of  a  letter  from  one  Malay  sovereign 
to  another,  more  especially  when  the  writer  wishes  to 
emphasise  his  importance.2 

1  It  is  usually  upon  a  portion  of  his 
insignia  (as,  for  instance,  his  k'ris,  which 
is  dipped  into  water  which  he  drinks) 
that  a  Malay  sovereign  swears  his  most 
solemn  oath.     Sometimes,  however,  it 
is   upon   a   lump  of  iron  called   bfsi 
kawi,    which    not    unfrequently   forms 
part   of  the   regalia   as  well.  —  Vide 
Klink.  s.v.  Besi. 

2  The  following  recital  of  the  titles 
of  a  Sumatran  Raja  will  show  at  least 
the  extraordinary  pretensions  to  sanctity 
which  to  this  day  (with,  in  some  parts, 
no  great  diminution)  hedge  about  the 
person  of  the  Malay  king  : — 

"The  Sultan  of  Menangcabow,  whose 
residence  is  at  Pagarooyoong  (after  par- 
don asked  for  presuming  to  mention 
his  name),  who  is  king  of  kings,  son  of 
Raja  Iscunder-sulcarnainny,  .... 
master  of  the  third  of  the  wood  mac- 
cummat,  one  of  whose  properties  is  to 
enable  matter  to  fly ;  of  the  lance 
ornamented  with  the  beard  of  Jangee, 
of  the  palace  of  the  city  of  Rome  ; 
....  of  the  gold  of  twelve  grains 
named  coodarat  coodaratfee,  resembling 
a  man  ;  .  .  .  .  who  is  possessed  of 
the  sword  named  Chooree-se-mendong- 
geree,  which  has  an  hundred  and  ninety 
gaps,  made  in  the  conflict  with  the 
arch-devil,  Se  Cattee-moono,  whom  it 
slew  ;  who  is  master  of  fresh  water 
in  the  ocean,  to  the  extent  of  a  day's 
sailing ;  possessed  of  a  lance  formed 
of  a  twig  of  ejoo  (the  gomuti,  or 
sugar-palm) ;  of  a  calrwang  (scimitar) 
wrapped  in  an  unmade  chinday  (cloth) ; 
of  a  creese  (dagger)  formed  of  the  soul 
of  steel,  which,  by  a  noise,  expresses 
an  unwillingness  at  being  sheathed, 
and  shows  itself  pleased  when  drawn  ; 
of  a  date  coeval  with  the  creation  ; 
possessed  of  a  gun  brought  from  heaven, 
named  soubahana  hou  ouatanalla ; 

of  a  horse  of  the  race  of  sorimbor- 
aknee,  superior  to  all  others ;  Sultan 
of  the  Burning  Mountain,  and  of  the 
mountains  goontang-goontang,  which 
divide  Palembang  and  Jambee ;  who 
may  slay  at  pleasure  without  being 
guilty  of  a  crime  ;  who  is  possessed  of 
the  elephant  named  settee  dewa;  who 
is  Vicegerent  of  Heaven  ;  Sultan  of  the 
Golden  River ;  Lord  of  the  Air  and 
Clouds ;  master  of  a  balli  (Audience- 
Hall),  whose  pillars  are  of  the  shrub 
jelattang;  of  gandangs  (drums)  made 
of  hollowed  branches  of  the  minute 
shrubs  pooloot  and  seelosooree ;  of  the 
gong  that  resounds  to  the  skies  ;  of  the 
buffalo  named  Se  Binnooang  Satiee, 
whose  horns  are  ten  feet  asunder ;  of 
the  unconquered  cock,  Sengonannee;  of 
the  cocoa  -  nut  tree  whose  amazing 
height,  and  being  infested  with  serpents 
and  other  noxious  reptiles,  render  it 
impossible  to  be  climbed  ;  of  the  flower 
named  seeree  menjeree,  of  ambrosial 
scent ;  who,  when  he  goes  to  sleep, 
wakes  not  till  the  gandang  nobat  (state 
drum)  sounds  ;  one  of  whose  eyes  is 
as  the  sun  and  the  other  as  the  moon." 
— Marsden,  Hist,  of  Sum.  p.  270. 

On  the  foregoing  list  I  should 
like  to  remark  (l)  that  the  necessity 
of  asking  pardon  for  mentioning  the 
king's  name  is  considered  by  the  Penin- 
sular Malays  to  be  as  imperative  as 
ever.  (2)  The  expression  "who  is  mas- 
ter of  fresh  water  in  the  ocean "  is 
explained  by  a  passage  in  Leyden's 
Malay  Annals  (p.  37),  where,  all  the 
fresh  water  being  exhausted,  "Raja 
Sang  Sapurba  directed  them  to  bring 
rotans  and  tie  them  in  circles  and 
throw  them  in  the  water  ;  then  having 
himself  descended  into  a  small  boat, 
he  inserted  his  feet  into  the  water, 
within  the  circles  of  bamboo  (sic),  and 


But  the  extraordinary  strength  of  the  Malay  belief 
in  the  supernatural  powers  of  the  regalia  of  their 
sovereigns  can  only  be  thoroughly  realised  after  a 
study  of  their  romances,  in  which  their  kings  are 
credited  with  all  the  attributes  of  inferior  gods,  whose 
birth,  as  indeed  every  subsequent  act  of  their  after  life, 
is  attended  by  the  most  amazing  prodigies. 

They  are  usually  invulnerable,  and  are  gifted 
with  miraculous  powers,  such  as  that  of  transforming 
themselves,  and  of  returning  to  (or  recalling  others 
to)  life ;  in  fact  they  have,  in  every  way,  less  of  the 
man  about  them  and  more  of  the  god.  Thus  it 
is  that  the  following  description  of  the  dress  of 
an  old-time  Raja  falls  easily  into  line  with  what 
would  otherwise  appear  the  objectless  jargon  which 
still  constitutes  the  preamble  of  many  a  Malay  prince's 
letters,  but  which  can  yet  be  hardly  regarded  as  mere 
rhetoric,  since  it  has  a  deep  meaning  for  those  who 
read  it : — 

"  He  wore  the  trousers  called  beraduwanggi, 
miraculously  made  without  letting  in  pieces  ;  hundreds 
of  mirrors  encircled  his  waist,  thousands  encircled  his 

by  the  Power  of  God  Almighty  and  the  another    Sultan    of    "  Menangcabow  " 

virtue  of  a  descendant  of  Raja  Secander  named  "Gaggar  Allum"(Gegar 'Alam), 

Zulkameini,    the   water   within    these  "were  a  sacred  crown  from  God";  "the 

circles  became  fresh,  and  all  the  crews  cloth  sansistah  kallah,  which   weaves 

supplied  themselves  with  it,  and  unto  itself,  and  adds  one   thread  yearly  of 

this  day  the  fresh  water  is  mixed  with  fine  pearls,  and  when  that  cloth  shall 

the  salt  at  this  place."     (3)  The  horse,  be  finished  the  world  will  be  no  more  "  ; 

which    is   usually  called  "  Sembrani,"  "  the  dagger  Hangin  Cinga  (Singa  ?) 

is  a   magic   steed,    "  which   could  fly  which  will,  at  his  command,  fight  of 

through  the  air  as  well  as  swim  through  itself";    "the  blue  champaka  flower, 

the   water"    (Leyd.,    Mai.    Ann,     p.  which  is  to  be  found  in  no  country  but 

17).      (4)   For  the  mountains  Goon-  his    (being    yellow    elsewhere),"    and 

tang-goontang  (or  Saguntang    Maha-  many   others    worthy   of    the    Sultan 

miru),  cp.   Leyden's  Mai.  Ann.  p.  20  "  whose  presence  bringeth  death  to  all 

seqq.     (5)  The   privilege  of  "slaying  who  attempt  to  approach  him  without 

at  pleasure  without  being  guilty  of  a  permission, "  and   of  the    "  Sultan   of 

crime "  is  a  privilege  which  still  belongs  Indrapore,     who    has     four    breasts." 

to  Malay  sovereigns  of  the  first  rank.  — Marsden,  Hist,  of  Sum.  p.  272. 
Similar  sacred  objects,  belonging  to 


legs,   they  were   sprinkled   all    about   his   body,    and 
larger  ones  followed  the  seams." 

Then  his  waistband  (kain  ikat  pinggang)  was 
of  "flowered  cloth,  twenty-five  cubits  in  length,  or 
thirty  if  the  fringe  be  included  ;  thrice  a  day  did  it 
change  its  colours — in  the  morning  transparent  as  dew, 
at  mid-day  of  the  colour  of  lembayong?  and  in  the 
evening  of  the  hue  of  oil." 

Next  came  his  coat.  It  was  "of  reddish  purple 
velvet,  thrice  brilliant  the  lustre  of  its  surface,  seven 
times  powerful  the  strength  of  the  dye ;  the  dyer  after 
making  it  sailed  the  world  for  three  years,  but  the  dye 
still  clung  to  the  palms  of  his  hands." 

His  dagger  was  "  a  straight  blade  of  one  piece  which 
spontaneously  screwed  itself  into  the  haft.  The  grooves, 
called  retak  mayat?  started  from  the  base  of  the  blade, 
the  damask  called  pamur  janji  appeared  half-way  up, 
and  the  damask  called  lam  jilallah  at  the  point ;  the 
damask  alif  was  there  parallel  with  the  edge,  and 
where  the  damasking  ended  the  steel  was  white.  No 
ordinary  metal  was  the  steel,  it  was  what  was  over 
after  making  the  bolt  of  God's  Ka'abah  (at  Meccah). 
It  had  been  forged  by  the  son  of  God's  prophet, 
Adam,  smelted  in  the  palm  of  his  hand,  fashioned 
with  the  end  of  his  finger,  and  coloured  with  the  juice 

1  I.e.  purple,  -vide  Klinkert,  s. v.;  cf.  Indo-Chinese  nation.      "  Le  general  en 

the  following  from /.  R.A.S.,  S.£.,  No.  chef    doit    se    conformer   a   plusieurs 

9,  p.  93  :   "Tan  Saban  was  frequently  coutumes et observances superstitieuses ; 

to  be  seen  on  the  outworks  of  his  fort  par  exemple,  il  faut   qu'il   mette  une 

across  the  river,  dressed  in  garments  of  robe  de  couleur  differente  pour  chaque 

conspicuous  colours.      In  the  morning  jour   de   la  semaine  ;    le    dimanche   il 

he  wore  red,  at  mid-day  yellow,  and  in  s'habille  en  blanc,  le  lundi  en  jaune, 

the  evening  his  clothes    were    green.  le  mardi  en  vert,  le  mercredi  en  rouge, 

When  he   was   pointed  out  to  Magat  le  jeudi  en  bleu,  le  vendredi  en  noir,  et 

Terawis,  it  was  the  morning,  and  he  le     samedi     en    violet."  —  Pallegoix, 

was  dressed  in  red."  Description  de  St'am,  vol.  i.  p.  319. 

The  foregoing  superstitious  observ-  2  Lit.  "corpse  grooves." 
ance  is  found   among  more  than  one 


of  flowers  in  a  Chinese  furnace.  Its  deadly  qualities 
came  down  to  it  from  the  sky,  and  if  cleaned  (with 
acid)  at  the  source  of  a  river,  the  fish  at  the  embouchure 
came  floating  up  dead. 

"  The  sword  that  he  wore  was  called  lang  pen- 
gonggong?  'the  successful  swooper/lit.  the  'kite  carry- 
ing off  its  prey.' 

"  The  next  article  described  is  his  turban,  which, 
among  the  Malays,  is  a  square  handkerchief  folded 
and  knotted  round  the  head." 

"  He  next  took  his  royal  handkerchief,  knotting 
it  so  that  it  stood  up  with  the  ends  projecting ;  one  of 
them  he  called  dendam  ta  sudah  (endless  love) :  it  was 
purposely  unfinished  ;  if  it  were  finished  the  end  of  the 
world  would  come.  It  had  been  woven  in  no  ordinary 
way,  but  had  been  the  work  of  his  mother  from  her 
youth.  Wearing  it  he  was  provided  with  all  the 
love-compelling  secrets.  (The  names  of  a  number  of 
charms  to  excite  passion  are  given,  but  they  cannot  be 
explained  in  the  compass  of  a  note)." 2 

He  wore  the  Malay  national  garment — the  sarong. 
It  was  "a  robe  of  muslin  of  the  finest  kind;  no 
ordinary  weaving  had  produced  it ;  it  had  been  woven 
in  a  jar  in  the  middle  of  the  ocean  by  people  with 
gills,  relieved  by  others  with  beaks ;  no  sooner  was  it 
finished  than  the  maker  was  put  to  death,  so  that  no 
one  might  be  able  to  make  one  like  it.  It  was  not  of 
the  fashion  of  the  clothing  of  the  rajas  of  the  present 
day,  but  of  those  of  olden  time.  If  it  were  put  in  the 
sun  it  got  damper,  if  it  were  soaked  in  water  it  became 
drier.  A  slight  tear  mended  by  darning  only  increased 

1  The  usual  form  is  ptnggonggong,  leman,"  "Asam  garam"  "  Ahadan 

from  gonggong,  to  carry  in  the  mouth.  mabuk,"  "  Sa-palit  gila"  "  Sri  gfgah" 

-  Their  Malay  names  are  "  Si-mula-  and  "  Doa  unus." — J.R.A.S.,  S.£., 

jadi"  "  Ashik  sa-kampong"  "  Si-putar  No.  17,  pp.  94-97. 


its  value,  instead  of  lessening  it,  for  the  thread  for  the 
purpose  cost  one  hundred  dollars.  A  single  dewdrop 
dropping  on  it  would  tangle  the  thread  for  a  cubit's 
length,  while  the  breath  of  the  south  wind  would  dis- 
entangle it." 

Finally,  we  get  a  description  of  the  way  in  which 
the  Raja  (S'ri  Rama)  set  out  upon  his  journey. 

"He  adopted  the  art  called  sedang  budiman, 
the  young  snake  writhed  at  his  feet  (i.e.  he  started  at 
mid-day  when  his  own  shadow  was  round  his  feet), 
a  young  eagle  was  flying  against  the  wind  overhead  ; 
he  took  a  step  forward  and  then  two  backward,  one 
forward  as  a  sign  that  he  was  leaving  his  country,  and 
two  backward  as  a  sign  that  he  would  return  ;  as  he 
took  a  step  with  the  right  foot,  loud  clanked  his 
accoutrements l  on  his  left ;  as  he  put  forth  the  left  foot 
a  similar  clank  was  heard  on  his  right ;  he  advanced, 
swelling  out  his  broad  chest,  and  letting  drop  his 
slender  fingers,  adopting  the  gait  called  '  planting 
beans,'  and  then  the  step  called  '  sowing  spinach.' ' 

In  addition  to  the  sanctity  of  the  regalia,  the  king, 
as  the  divine  man,  possesses  an  infinite  multitude  of 
prerogatives  which  enter  into  almost  every  act  of  his 
private  life,  and  thus  completely  separate  him  from  the 
generality  of  his  fellow-men. 

These  prerogatives  are  too  numerous  to  be 
mentioned  in  detail,  but  the  following  extract  from 
Leyden's  translation  of  the  "  Malay  Annals  "  will  give  a 
general  idea  of  their  character  and  extent : — 

1  The     Malay     word     is   changgei,  the  arms  reminds  the  Malay  of  the  way 
which  means   "long  nails"   (whether  a  man  steps  and  raises  his  arm  to  plant 
natural  or  artificial) ;  artificial  nails  are  bean-seeds  six  feet   apart ;    a   quicker 
several  inches  in  length,  being  much  step  and  a  rounder  swing  of  the  arms  is 
affected  by  Malay  actors  performing  as  compared   to  the  action  of  scattering 
royalty.  small  seeds. — -J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  loc.  cit. 

2  A  long  step  and  a  slow  swing  of 


"Sultan  Muhammed  Shah  again  established  in 
order  the  throne  of  his  sovereignty.  He  was  the 
first  who  prohibited  the  wearing  of  yellow  clothes  in 
public,  not  even  a  handkerchief  of  that  colour,  nor 
curtains,  nor  hangings,  nor  large  pillow-cases,  nor 
coverlets,  nor  any  envelope  of  any  bundle,  nor  the 
cloth  lining  of  a  house,  excepting  only  the  waist  cloth, 
the  coat,  and  the  turban.  He  also  prohibited  the  con- 
structing of  houses  with  abutments,  or  smaller  houses 
connected  with  them  ;  also  suspended  pillars  or  timbers 
(tiang  gantong] ;  nor  timbers  the  tops  of  which  project 
above  the  roofs,  and  also  summer  houses.1  He  also 
prohibited  the  ornamenting  of  creeses  with  gold,  and 
the  wearing  anklets  of  gold,  and  the  wearing  the  koron- 
chong,  or  hollow  bracelets  (anklets  ?)  of  gold,  ornamented 
with  silver.  None  of  these  prohibited  articles  did  he 
permit  to  be  worn  by  a  person,  however  rich  he  might 
be,  unless  by  his  particular  licence,  a  privilege  which 
the  raja  has  ever  since  possessed.  He  also  forbade 
any  one  to  enter  the  palace  unless  wearing  a  cloth 
petticoat 2  of  decent  length,  with  his  creese  in  front ; s 
and  a  shoulder-cloth ;  and  no  person  was  permitted 
to  enter  unless  in  this  array,  and  if  any  one  wore  his 
creese  behind  him,  it  was  incumbent  on  the  porter  of 
the  gate  to  seize  it.  Such  is  the  order  of  former  time 
respecting  prohibition  by  the  Malayu  rajas,  and  what- 
ever is  contrary  to  this  is  a  transgression  against  the 
raja,  and  ought  to  incur  a  fine  of  five  cati.  The  white 

1  In   house  -  building   it   is    further  that    of    the     main     building     (kelek 

forbidden  to  dovetail  or  make  the  ends  anak), 

of  the    timbers  (e.g.    of  the   roof)  fit  2  I.e.  the  sarong  or  Malay  national 

accurately  together,  and  also  to  build  garment ;   for  the  custom,  vide  Cliff., 

two   verandahs,   one  on  each  side  of  In  Court  and  Kampong,  p.   158,  and 

the  house,  with  their  floors  on  a  level  for  an  exception,  ib.  2"j. 

with   the   floor    of    the    main    build-  3  The  hilt  of  the  creese  (frt's)  must, 

ing ;  if  two   verandahs  are  used,   the  however,  be  hidden  by  a  fold  of  the 

floor    of    one   must   be    lower    than  cloth  about  the  wearer's  waist. 


umbrella,  which  is  superior  to  the  yellow  one,  because 
it  is  seen  conspicuous  at  a  greater  distance,  was  also 
confined  to  the  raja's  person,1  while  the  yellow  umbrella 
was  confined  to  his  family."  ' 

A  number  of  other  particulars  bearing  on  this  sub- 
ject will  be  found  in  other  parts  of  the  text,  and  in  the 
Appendix  references  are  given  to  other  works  for 
additional  details,  which  are  too  numerous  to  be 
recorded  here. 

"At  funerals,  whether  the  deceased  has  been  a 
great  or  insignificant  person,  if  he  be  a  subject,  the 
use  of  the  Payong  (umbrella)  and  the  Puwadi  is 
interdicted,  as  also  the  distribution  of  alms,  unless  by 
royal  permission  ;  otherwise  the  articles  thus  forbidden 
will  be  confiscated."  "Puwadi  is  the  ceremony  of 
spreading  a  cloth,  generally  a  white  one,  for  funeral 
and  other  processions  to  walk  upon.  Should  the  de- 
ceased be  of  high  rank,  the  cloth  extends  from  the  house 
where  the  corpse  is  deposited,  to  the  burial-ground."  * 

Similar  prohibitions  are  still  in  force  at  the  courts 
of  the  Malay  Sultans  in  the  Peninsula,  though  a  yellow 
umbrella  is  now  generally  substituted  for  the  white,  at 
least  in  Selangor. 

A  distinction  is  also  now  drawn  between  manu- 
factured yellow  cloth  and  cloth  which  has  been  dyed 
yellow  with  saffron,  the  wrongful  use  of  the  latter 
(the  genuine  article)  being  regarded  as  the  more 
especially  heinous  act. 

In  addition  to  the  royal  monopoly  of  such  objects 

1  ' '  The  covered  portion  of  the  barge  bows   with   long   bamboo   poles    held 

which  carries  the  Sultan's  principal  wife  close    together   and    erect. "  —  Malay 

is  decorated  with  six  scarlet-bordered  Sketches,  p.  214. 

white  umbrellas.     Two  officers  stand,  2  Leyden,  Malay  Annals,  pp.   94, 

all  day  long,  just  outside  the  state-room,  95. 

holding    open    black    umbrellas   with  3  Code   of  Malacca,    translated    in 

silver  fringes,  and  two  others  are  in  the  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  pp.  234,  235. 


as  have  been  mentioned,  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell  mentions 
three  royal  perquisites  (larangan  raja),  i.e.  river  turtles 
(tuntong)  (by  which  he  no  doubt  means  their  eggs) ; 
elephants  (by  which  he  doubtless  means  elephants' 
tusks);1  and  the  fruit  of  the  "  ketiar"  from  which  oil 
is  made  by  the  Perak  Malays.  He  adds,  "It  used  to 
be  a  capital  offence  to  give  false  information  to  the  Raja 
about  any  of  these.  The  '  ketiar '  tree  is  said  to  affect 
certain  localities,  and  is  found  in  groves  not  mixed 
with  other  trees.  In  former  days,  when  the  fruit  was 
ripe,  the  whole  of  the  Raja's  household  would  turn  out 
to  gather  it.  It  is  said  to  yield  a  very  large  percentage 
of  oil." 2 

The  only  tree  in  Ridley's  list 3  whose  name  at  all 
resembles  the  "ketiar"  is  the  katiak,  which  is  identi- 
fied as  Acronychia  Porteri,  Wall  (Rutaceae). 

A  description  of  the  gathering  of  the  eggs  of  river 
turtles  by  the  royal  party  in  Perak  will  be  found  in 
Malay  Sketches? 

Besides  the  above  there  are  not  a  few  linguistic 
taboos  connected  with  the  king's  person,  such  as 
the  use  of  the  words  santap,  to  eat ;  beradu,  to 
sleep;  bersemaiam,  to  be  seated,  or  to  "reside"  in 
a  certain  place;  berangkat,  to  "progress";  siram, 
to  bathe ;  gring,  to  be  sick ;  and  mangkat,  to  die ; 
all  of  which  words  are  specially  substituted  for  the 
ordinary  Malay  words  when  reference  is  made  to  the 
king.5  Moreover,  when  the  king  dies  his  name  is 

1  In  Selangor  this  royal  right  to  one  2  Notes  and  Queries,  No.  4,  issued 

of  each  pair  of  elephant's  tusks  is  still  wihJ.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  17,  sect.  75. 

a  tradition  to  which  an  allusion  is  oc-  3  J.R.A.S.>  S.B.,  No.  30,  p.  127. 

casionally  made.      There  are  said  to  4  Swettenham,  op.  cit.  pp.  211-226. 

have  been  other  perquisites  as  well  as  6  Others    are    titah     (commands)  ; 

those  mentioned,  e.g.  rhinoceros'  horns  patek  (slave) ;  mtrka  or  murka  (wrath) ; 

(suml/u     badak)     and     bezoar    stones  karnia  or  kumia  (favour) ;  and  nlgrah 

\guliga).  or  anugrah  (permission)  ;  the  penalty  of 


dropped,  and  he  receives  the  title  of  "  Marhum,"  the 
late  or  "deceased,"  with  the  addition  of  an  expression 
alluding  to  some  prominent  fact  in  his  life,  or  occasion- 
ally to  the  place  of  his  decease.  These  titles,  strange 
as  it  may  seem,  are  often  the  reverse  of  complimentary, 
and  occasionally  ridiculous.1 

It  must  not  be  forgotten,  too,  in  discussing  the 
divine  attributes  of  the  Malay  king,  that  he  is  firmly 
believed  to  possess  a  personal  influence  over  the  works 
of  nature,  such  as  the  growth  of  the  crops  and  the 
bearing  of  fruit-trees.  This  same  property  is  supposed 
to  reside  in  a  lesser  degree  in  his  delegates,  and  even 
in  the  persons  of  Europeans  in  charge  of  districts. 
Thus  I  have  frequently  known  (in  Selangor)  the  suc- 
cess or  failure  of  the  rice  crops  attributed  to  a  change 
of  district  officers,  and  in  one  case  I  even  heard  an 
outbreak  of  ferocity  which  occurred  among  man-eating 
crocodiles  laid  at  the  door  of  a  most  zealous  and  able, 
though  perhaps  occasionally  somewhat  unsympathetic, 
representative  of  the  Government.  So,  too,  on  one 

uttering  any  of  which,  except  in  address-  Siam.  The  various  kings  of  those 
ing  the  sovereign,  is  death,  i.e.  should  countries  are  generally  distinguished  by 
the  offender  be  a  royal  slave ;  should  some  nickname  derived  from  facts  in 
he  be  any  other  individual,  he  is  struck  their  reign  or  personal  relations,  and 
on  the  mouth. — Newbold,0/.  cit,  vol.  ii.  applied  to  them  after  their  decease. 
PP-  233'2345  vide  also  Malay  Sketches,  Thus  we  hear  among  the  Burmese 
p.  218,  where  the  same  list  of  linguistic  kings  of  'the  king  dethroned  by 
taboos  appears  to  be  used  in  Perak.  foreigners,'  '  the  king  who  fled  from 
1  Marhum,  one  who  has  found  the  Chinese,'  'the  grandfather  king,' 
mercy,  i.e.  the  deceased.  It  is  the  and  even  '  the  king  thrown  into  the 
custom  of  Malays  to  discontinue  after  water.'  Now  this  has  a  close  parallel 
the  death  of  a  king  the  use  of  the  title  in  the  Archipelago.  Among  the  kings 
which  he  bore  during  his  life.  A  new  of  Macassar,  we  find  one  king  known 
title  is  invented  for  the  deceased  only  as  the  '  Throat-cutter ' ;  another 
monarch,  by  which  he  is  ever  after-  as  '  He  who  ran  amuck  ' ;  a  third, 
wards  known.  The  existence  of  a  '  The  beheaded ' ;  a  fourth,  '  He  who 
similar  custom  among  other  Indo-  was  beaten  to  death  on  his  own  stair- 
Chinese  races  has  been  noticed  by  case. ' "  Colonel  Yule  ascribes  the  origin 
Colonel  Yule:  "  There  is  also  a  custom  of  this  custom  to  Ancient  India, 
of  dropping  or  concealing  the  proper  [  Journal  Anthrop.  Institute. ]_/..£. .,4. -S1., 
name  of  the  king.  This  exists  in  S.B.,  No.  9,  p.  98. 
Burma  and  (according  to  La  Loubere)  in 


occasion  when  three  deaths  occurred  during  a  District 
Officer's  temporary  absence,  the  mere  fact  of  his 
absence  was  considered  significant.  I  may  add  that 
royal  blood  is  supposed  by  many  Malays  to  be  white, 
and  this  is  the  pivot  on  which  the  plot  of  not  a  few 
Malay  folk-tales  is  made  to  turn.1 

Finally,  it  must  be  pointed  out  that  the  greatest 
possible  importance  is  attached  to  the  method  of  salut- 
ing the  king. 

In  the  "  Sri  Rama "  (the  Malay  Ramayana)  we 
read,  even  of  the  chiefs,  that — 

"  While  yet  some  way  off  they  bowed  to  the  dust, 
When  they  got  near  they  made  obeisance, 
Uplifting  at  each  step  their  fingers  ten, 

The  hands  closed  together  like  the  rootlets  of  the  bakong  palm  2 
The  fingers  one  on  the  other  like  a  pile  of  sirih 2  leaves."  8 

Equals  in  rank  when  saluting  one  another  touch 4 
(though  they  do  not  shake)  each  other's  hands,  but 
a  person  of  humble  birth  must  not  touch  hands 
in  saluting  a  great  chief.  "A  man,  named  Imam 
Bakar,  was  once  slain  at  Pasir  Tambang,  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Tembeling  river.  He  incautiously  touched 
hands  in  greeting  with  a  Chief  called  To'  Gajah,  and 
the  latter,  seizing  him  in  an  iron  grip,  held  him  fast, 
while  he  was  stabbed  to  death  with  spears."5 

In  saluting  a  great  Chief,  like  the  Dato'  Maharaja 
Perba  j£lai,  the  hands  are  "lifted  up  in  salutation 
with  the  palms  pressed  together,  as  in  the  attitude 
of  Christian  prayer,  but  the  tips  of  the  thumbs  are 

1  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.  ii.  p.  288,  superior  in  rank,  it  is  proper,  in  draw- 
note,  ing  back  your  hands,  to  bring  them  at 

8  The  bakong  is  a  kind  of  lily  ;  the  least  as  high  as  your  chest ;  and  if  the 

sirih  is  the  Malay  betel-vine.  other  is  decidedly  your  superior,  even 

3  J.R.A.S.,  S,B.,  No.  17,  p.  93.  as  high  as  your  forehead,  bending  for- 

4  Touching  hands  is  done  with  both       ward  somewhat  while  doing  so. 
hands  together.      If  you   touch  hands  8  Cliff.,  Stud,  in  Brown  Humanity, 
with   a   man  who   is   somewhat   your       p.  175. 


not  suffered  to  ascend  beyond  the  base  of  the  chin. 
In  saluting  a  real  Raja,  the  hands  are  carried 
higher  and  higher,  according  to  the  prince's  rank, 
until,  for  the  Sultan,  the  tips  of  the  thumbs  are  on 
a  level  with  the  forehead.  Little  details  such  as 
these  are  of  immense  importance  in  the  eyes  of  the 
Malays,  and  not  without  reason,  seeing  that  in  an 
Independent  Native  State  many  a  man  has  come  by  his 
death  for  carelessness  in  their  observance." l 

In  the  king's  audience  hall  the  formal  saluta- 
tions are  performed  in  a  sitting  posture,  and  in 
this  case,  too,  the  greatest  attention  is  paid  to  the 
height  to  which  the  hands  are  raised.  The  chief  twice 
makes  salutation  in  a  sitting  posture  as  he  advances, 
and  at  the  third  advance  bends  over  the  Sultan's 
hands,  two  more  salutations  being  made  on  his  way 
back  to  his  place. 

A  flagrant  infringement  of  any  of  the  prerogatives 
of  the  Sultan,  such  as  those  I  have  described,  is  certain, 
it  is  thought,  to  prove  fatal,  more  or  less  immediately. 

Thus  the  death  of  Penghulu  Mohit,  a  well-known 
Malay  headman  of  the  Klang  district,  in  Selangor,  which 
took  place  while  I  was  in  charge  of  that  district,  was 
at  the  time  very  generally  attributed  by  the  local 
Malays  to  his  usurpation  of  certain  royal  privileges 
or  prerogatives  on  the  occasion  of  his  daughter's 
wedding.  One  of  these  was  his  acceptance  of  gift- 

1  Cliff.,    In    Court   and   Kampong,  has  passed,  for  according  to  Malay  ideas 

p.  113,  and  compare  the  following  : —  it  shows  a  want  of  respect  in  a  subject 

"Visitors  to  Jugra  may  often  in  the  to  remain  standing  in  the  presence  of 

evening  see  a  party  of  some  30  or  40  men  his  Raja"  .   .   .   "  on  replying  to  His 

coming  along  the  road  with  His  High-  Highness  natives  place  the   palms  of 

ness  "    [the  late    Sultan  'Abdulsamad  their  hands  together  and  so  raise  them 

of  Selangor]    "  walking   a   few    paces  to  their  forehead,  by  way  of  obeisance, 

ahead  of  them.     Should  a  native  meet  and   this    is   done   even   by   his   own 

the  little  procession  he  will  squat  down  children. " — Selangor  Journal,   vol.    i. 

at  the  side  of  the  road  until  the  Sultan  No.  i,  p.  5. 


buffaloes,  decorated  after  the  royal  fashion,  which  were 
presented  to  him  as  wedding  gifts  in  his  daughter's 
honour.  These  buffaloes  had  a  covering  of  cloth  put 
over  them,  their  horns  covered,  and  a  crescent-shaped 
breast -ornament  (dokok)  hung  about  their  necks. 
Thus  dressed  they  were  taken  to  Mohit's  house  in 
solemn  procession.1  It  was,  at  the  time,  considered 
significant  that  the  very  first  of  these  gift-buffaloes, 
which  had  been  brought  overland  from  Jugra,  where 
the  Sultan  lived,  had  died  on  arrival,  and  whatever 
the  cause  may  have  been,  it  is  a  fact  that  Mohit's 
mother  died  a  day  or  two  after  the  conclusion  of  the 
wedding  ceremonies,  and  that  Mohit  himself  was 
taken  ill  almost  immediately  and  died  only  about  a 
fortnight  later. 

The  only  person  who,  in  former  days,  was  not 
in  the  least  affected  by  the  royal  taboos  which  pro- 
tected the  regalia  from  the  common  touch  was  the 
(now  I  believe  extinct)  official  who  held  the  post  of 
Court  Physician  (Maharaja  Lela).  He,  and  he  alone, 
might  go  freely  in  the  royal  apartments  wherever  he 
chose,  and  the  immunity  and  freedom  which  he  en- 
joyed in  this  respect  passed  into  a  proverb,  the  ex- 
pression "  to  act  the  Court  Physician  "  (buat  Maharaja 
Lela)  being  used  to  describe  an  altogether  unwarrant- 
able familiarity  or  impertinence. 

The  following  story  (though  I  tell  it  against  myself) 
is  perhaps  the  best  illustration  I  can  give  of  the  great 
danger  supposed  to  be  incurred  by  those  who  meddle 
with  the  paraphernalia  of  royalty.  Among  the  late 
Sultan's  insignia  of  royalty  (in  1897)  were  a  couple  of 

1  This  dressing  up  of  the  buffaloes,  their  necks,  suggests  the  survival  of 
when  taken  in  conjunction  with  the  anthropomorphic  ideas  about  the  sacri- 
suspension  of  the  breast-ornament  about  ficial  buffalo. 



drums  (gendang]  and  the  long  silver  trumpet  which  I 
have  already  described.  Such  trumpets  are  found 
among  the  kabesaran  or  regalia  of  most  Malay  States, 
and  are  always,  I  believe,  called  lempiri  or  nempiri 
(Pers.  nafiri\  They  are  considered  so  sacred  that  they 
can  only  be  handled  or  sounded,  it  is  believed,  by  a 
tribe  of  Malays  called  "Orang  Kalau,"  or  the  "  Kalau 
men,"1  as  any  one  else  who  attempted  to  sound  them 
would  be  struck  dead.  Even  the  "  Orang  Kalau," 
moreover,  can  only  sound  this  instrument  at  the 
proper  time  and  season  (e.g.  at  the  proclamation  of  a 
new  sovereign),  for  if  they  were  to  sound  it  at  any 
other  time  its  noise  would  slay  all  who  heard  it,  since 
it  is  the  chosen  habitation  of  the  "  Jin  Karaja'an  "  or 
State  Demon,2  whose  delight  it  would  be,  if  wrongfully 
disturbed,  to  slay  and  spare  not.3 

This  trumpet  and  the  drums  of  the  Selangor 
regalia  were  kept  by  the  present  Sultan  (then  Raja 
Muda,  or  Crown  Prince  of  Selangor)  in  a  small  gal- 

1  Among  the  Malays  the  use  of  the 
naubat   is    confined    to    the    reigning 
Rajas  of  a  few  States,  and  the  privi- 
lege is  one  of  the  most  valuable  insignia 
of  royalty.      In    Perak    the   office  of 
musician  used  to  be  an  hereditary  one, 
the     performers    were     called    Orang 
Kalauy  and  a  special  tax  was  levied  for 
their  support  (J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  9, 
p.  104). 

2  I   was  told  that  these  dangerous 
genii  or  spirits   resided  in  the  naubat 
or   Big    State   Drum,    the    two  g?n- 
dang  or  Small  State  Drums,  the  two 
langkara    or    State     Kettle    Drums, 
the   l/mpiri  or    State   Trumpet,    the 
sgrunei     or     State     Flute,     and    the 
Kris    or     State    Dagger,     called    (in 
Selangor)      tfrok     b/rayun,     or      the 
"Swaying   Baboon,"  which   latter   is 

said  to  have  slain  "a  hundred  men 
less  one"  since  it  was  first  used. 
[I  learnt  this  from  H.H.  the  late 
Sultan  himself,  and  here  record  it, 

because  it  has  sometimes  been  asserted 
that  H.H.  the  Sultan  claimed  to 
have  slain  these  ninety-nine  men  with 
his  own  hand,  which  H.H.  assured 
me  was  not  the  case.]  The  sanctity  of 
the  remaining  pieces  of  the  regalia 
appears  to  be  less  marked.  They  are 
the  payong  ubor-ubor  or  State  Um- 
brella, the  State  Trident,  and  the  State 
Lances  or  tombak  bandangan.  Of 
the  Selangor  State  Trumpet  I  was  told 
that  any  one  who  "  brushed  hastily  past 
it  "  (siapa-siapa  mUlintas-nya}  would  be 
fined  one  dollar,  even  if  he  were  the 
Sultan  himself  (walo"  Sultan-pun  ktfna 

8  But  in  Malay  Sketches  (p.  2 1 5)  we 
read  that  in  Perak  the  royal  instru- 
ments accompany  the  royal  water- 
parties,  and  that  "  the  royal  bugler  sits 
on  the  extreme  end  of  the  prow,  and 
from  time  to  time  blows  a  call  on  the 
antique  silver  trumpet  of  the  regalia." 


vanised  iron  cupboard  which  stood  (upon  posts  about 
three  feet  high)  in  the  middle  of  a  lawn  outside  His 
Highness'  "garden  residence  "  at  Bandar.  His  High- 
ness himself  informed  me  that  they  had  once  been  kept 
in  the  house  itself,  but  when  there  they  were  the  source 
of  infinite  annoyance  and  anxiety  to  the  inmates  on 
account  of  their  very  uncanny  behaviour ! 

Drops  of  perspiration,  for  instance,  would  form  upon 
the  Trumpet  when  a  leading  member  of  the  Royal 
House  was  about  to  die  (this  actually  happened,  as  I 
was  told,  at  Langat  just  before  the  death  of  Tungku 
'Chik,  the  late  Sultan's  eldest  daughter,  who  died 
during  my  residence  in  the  neighbourhood).  Then 
one  Raja  Bakar,  son  of  a  Raja  'AH,  during  the  re- 
thatching  of  the  house  at  Bandar,  accidentally  trod 
upon  the  wooden  barrel  of  one  of  the  State  Drums — 
and  died  in  consequence  of  his  inadvertence.  When, 
therefore,  a  hornet's  nest  formed  inside  one  of  these 
same  drums  it  was  pretty  clear  that  things  were  going 
from  bad  to  worse,  and  a  Chinaman  was  ordered  to 
remove  it,  no  Malay  having  been  found  willing  to  risk 
his  life  in  undertaking  so  dangerous  an  office — an  un- 
willingness which  was  presently  justified,  as  the  China- 
man, too,  after  a  few  days'  interval,  swelled  up  and 
died.  Both  these  strange  coincidences  were  readily 
confirmed  by  the  present  Sultan  on  an  occasion 
when  I  happened  to  question  the  authenticity  of  the 
story,  and  as  His  Highness  is  one  of  the  most  en- 
lightened and  truthful  of  men,  such  confirmation  cannot 
easily  be  set  aside.  But  the  strangest  coincidence  of 
all  was  to  follow,  for  not  long  afterwards,  having  never 
seen  that  portion  of  the  regalia  which  was  in  the  Raja 
Muda's  charge,  I  happened  to  mention  to  a  Malay 
friend  of  mine  at  Jugra  my  wish  to  be  allowed  to 


examine  these  objects,  and  was  at  once  begged  not 
to  touch  them,  on  the  ground  that  "  no  one  could  say 
what  might  follow."  But  shortly  after,  having  occasion 
to  visit  the  Raja  Muda  at  his  house  at  Bandar,  I  took 
the  opportunity  of  asking  whether  there  was  any 
objection  to  my  seeing  these  much  debated  objects, 
and  as  His  Highness  not  only  very  obligingly  assented, 
but  offered  to  show  them  to  me  himself,  I  was  able 
both  to  see  and  to  handle  them,  His  Highness  himself 
taking  the  Trumpet  out  of  its  yellow  case  and  handing 
it  to  me.  I  thought  nothing  more  of  the  matter  at  the 
time,  but,  by  what  was  really  a  very  curious  coincidence, 
within  a  few  days'  time  of  the  occurrence,  was  seized 
with  a  sharp  attack  of  malarial  influenza,  the  result  of 
which  was  that  I  was  obliged  to  leave  the  district,  and 
go  into  hospital  at  headquarters.  In  a  Malay  village 
news  spreads  quickly,  and  the  report  of  my  indisposi- 
tion, after  what  was  no  doubt  regarded  as  an  act  of 
extraordinary  rashness,  appears  to  have  made  a  pro- 
found impression,  and  the  result  of  it  was  that  a  Malay 
who  probably  considered  himself  indebted  to  me  for 
some  assistance  he  had  received,  bound  himself  by  a 
vow  to  offer  sacrifice  at  the  shrine  of  a  famous  local 
saint  should  I  be  permitted  to  return  to  the  district. 
Of  this,  however,  I  knew  nothing  at  the  time,  and 
nothing  could  have  exceeded  my  astonishment  when 
I  found  upon  my  return  that  it  was  my  duty  to  attend 
the  banquet  which  took  place  at  the  saint's  tomb  in 
honour  of  my  own  recovery  ! l 

Having  shown  the  wide  gulf  which    divides  the 

1  TheMalayheadman(Haji  Brahim),  ceremony.     A  goat  had  been  killed  for 

the    priest    of  the    local    mosque,    the  the  occasion,   and  the  party  who  were 

Bilal    (an    inferior    attendant    at    the  paying  the  vow  brought  its  flesh  with 

mosque),  and  some  thirty  Malays  be-  them,  together  with  a  great  heap  of  rice 

longing  to  the  village,  took  part  in  this  stained  with  saffron  (turmeric).     The 


"  divine  man  "  from  his  fellows,  I  have  still  to  point  out 
the  extent  to  which  certain  portions  of  the  human  frame 
have  come  to  be  invested  with  sanctity,  and  to  require  to 
be  treated  with  special  ceremonies.  These  parts  of  the 
anatomy  are,  in  particular,  the  head,  the  hair,  the  teeth, 
the  ears,  and  the  nails,  all  of  which  I  will  take  in  their 

The  head,  in  the  first  place,  is  undoubtedly  still  con- 
sidered by  the  Malays  to  possess  some  modified  degree 
of  sanctity.  A  proof  of  this  is  the  custom  (ladat)  which 
regulates  the  extent  of  the  sacrifice  to  be  offered  in  a 
case  of  assault  or  battery  by  the  party  committing 
the  injury.  If  any  part  of  the  head  is  injured,  nothing 
less  than  a  goat  will  suffice  (the  animal  being  killed  and 
both  parties  bathed  in  the  blood)  ;  if  the  upper  part  of 
the  body,  the  slaughter  of  a  cock  (to  be  disposed  of  in 
a  similar  way)  will  be  held  to  be  sufficient  reparation, 
and  so  on,  the  sacrifice  becoming  of  less  value  in  pro- 
portion as  the  injured  part  is  farther  from  the  head. 
So,  too,  Mr.  Frazer  writes:  "The  .  .  .  superstition 
(of  the  sanctity  of  the  head)  exists  among  the  Malays  ; 
for  an  early  traveller  reports  that  in  Java  people  '  wear 
nothing  on  their  heads,  and  say  that  nothing  must  be  on 
their  heads,  .  .  .  and  if  any  person  were  to  put  his 
hand  upon  their  head  they  would  kill  him ;  and  they 
do  not  build  houses  with  stories  in  order  that  they 
may  not  walk  over  each  other's  heads.'  It  is  also  found 
in  full  force  throughout  Polynesia."1 

From  the  principle  of  the  sanctity  of  the  head  flows, 
no  doubt,  the  necessity  of  using  the  greatest  circum- 

men  assembled  at  the  tomb,  incense  was  banquet    followed,    in    which    we    all 

burned,  and  Arabic  prayers  read,  after  took  part. 

which  a  white  cloth,  five  cubits  long,  l  Frazer,  Gotten  Bough,  \o\.  i.  p.  189. 
was    laid    on    the   saint's   grave.       A 


spection  during  the  process  of  cutting  the  hair.1  Some- 
times throughout  the  whole  life  of  the  wearer,  and 
frequently  during  special  periods,  the  hair  is  left  uncut. 
Thus  I  was  told  that  in  former  days  Malay  men  usually 
wore  their  hair  long,  and  I  myself  have  seen  an  instance 
of  this  at  Jugra  in  Selangor  in  the  person  of  a  Malay2 
of  the  old  school,  who  was  locally  famous  on  this  account. 
So,  too,  during  the  forty  days  which  must  elapse 
before  the  purification  of  a  woman  after  the  birth  of 
her  child,  the  father  of  the  child  is  forbidden  to  cut  his 
hair,  and  a  similar  abstention  is  said  to  have  been 
formerly  incumbent  upon  all  persons  either  prosecut- 
ing a  journey  or  engaging  in  war.  Often  a  boy's 
head  is  entirely  shaven  shortly  after  birth  with  the 
exception  of  a  single  lock  in  the  centre  of  the  head, 
and  so  maintained  until  the  boy  begins  to  grow  up, 
but  frequently  the  operation  is  postponed  (generally, 
it  is  said,  in  consequence  of  a  vow  made  by  the  child's 
parents)  until  the  period  of  puberty  or  marriage.  Great 
care,  too,  must  be  exercised  in  disposing  of  the  clip- 
pings of  hair  (more  especially  \hefirst  clippings),  as  the 
Malay  profoundly  believes  that  "the  sympathetic  con- 
nection which  exists  between  himself  and  every  part 

1  For  the  ideas  referred  to  in  this  and  to  have  been  for  men  to  wear  their  hair 
the  preceding  paragraph,  cp.  Frazer,  op,  down  to  the  shoulders  (rambut  panjang 
fit.  vol.  i.  pp.  187-207.    Cp.  also  for  the  jijak  bahu),  but  they  would  frequently 
abstention  from  hair-cutting  at  child-  wear  it  below  the  waist  (rambut  sa-pifr- 
birth,     Clifford's     Studies    in    Brown  hfmpasan),  in  which  case  it  appears  to 
Humanity,  p.   48.      The  idea  of  long  have  been  commonly  shorn  at  puberty 
hair  is  found  even  in  animistic  concep-  or  marriage.     When  worn  full  length 
tions   of  natural   objects.      Thus   the  by  men   it  was  usually,   for  conveni- 
wind   (Angiri)  is  begged   in   a  wind-  ence,  coiled  up  inside  thejhead-cloth 
charm    "  to   let   down   its    long    and  or  turban  (saputangan  or  tanjak),   or 
flowing  locks."  was  made  up  into  rolls  or  chignons 

2  Raja  Berma,  son  of  Raja  Jaman  of  (sanggul  dan  sipuf)  like  that   of  the 
Bandar  (Wan  Bong).    Cp.  also  Clifford,  women.      It  was  not  infrequently  used 
In  Court  and  Jfampong,  p.  1 14,  "He  as  a  place  of  concealment  for  one  of  the 
wore  his  fine  black  hair  long,  so  that  it  small  Malay  poniards  called  "  Pepper- 
hung  about  his  waist."  crushers  "  (tumbok  lada),  not  only  by 

The  old  custom  in  Selangor  is  said      men  but  by  women. 


of  his  body  continues  to  exist  even  after  the  physical 
connection  has  been  severed,  and  that  therefore  he 
will  suffer  from  any  harm  that  may  befall  the  severed 
parts  of  his  body,  such  as  the  clippings  of  his  hair  or 
the  parings  of  his  nails.  Accordingly  he  takes  care 
that  those  severed  portions  of  himself  shall  not  be  left 
in  places  where  they  might  either  be  exposed  to 
accidental  injury,  or  fall  into  the  hands  of  malicious 
persons  who  might  work  magic  on  them  to  his 
detriment  or  death." x 

Thus  we  invariably  find  clippings  of  the  victim's  hair 
mentioned  (together  with  parings  of  his  nails,  etc.)  as 
forming  part  of  the  ingredients  of  the  well-known  wax 
image  or  mannikin  into  which  pins  are  stuck,  and  which 
is  still  believed  by  all  Malays  to  be  a  most  effective 
method  of  causing  the  illness  or  death  of  an  enemy.2  I 
was  once  present  at  the  curious  ceremony  of  cutting 
the  hair  of  a  Malay  bride,  which  had  all  the  character- 
istics of  a  religious  rite,  but  the  detailed  account  of 
it  will  be  reserved  for  a  later  chapter.3 

The  same  difficulties  and  dangers  which  beset  the 
first  cutting  of  the  hair  apply,  though  perhaps  in  a  less 
degree,  to  the  first  paring  of  the  nails  (bertobafc],  the  bor- 
ing of  the  ears  of  girls  (bertindek  telinga),  and  the  filing 
of  the  teeth  (berasah  gigt]  of  either  sex  whether  at  puberty 
or  marriage.  One  or  more  of  the  nails  are  frequently 
worn  long  by  Malays  of  standing,  and  the  women  who 
engage  in  "nautch"  dancing  and  theatrical  perform- 
ances invariably  wear  a  complete  set  of  artificial 
nails  (changgei).  These  latter  are  usually  of  brass, 
are  often  several  inches  in  length,  and  are  made  so 

1  Frazer,  op.  cit.  vol.  i.  p.  193.  8   Vide  infra,  Chap.  VI.   pp.   353- 

2  Vide   infra,    Chap.    VI.    p.   569,       355,  Adolescence. 
se.)  etc. 


as  to  fit  on  to  the  tips  of  the  fingers.  Occasionally 
a  brass  ring  with  a  small  peacock,  or  some  such  bird,  of 
the  same  material  will  be  attached  to  the  end  of  the 
nail  by  a  minute  brass  chain.  The  practice  of  wear- 
ing long  nails  is  sometimes  attributed  to  Chinese  in- 
fluence, but  it  is  hard  to  see  why  this  particular  detail 
of  Malay  custom,  which  is  quite  in  keeping  with  the 
general  trend  of  Malay  ideas  about  the  person,  should 
be  supposed  to  be  derived  from  China.  The  borrow- 
ing, if  any,  is  much  more  likely  to  have  been  on  the 
part  of  the  Chinese,  who  undoubtedly  imported 
many  Indian  ideas  along  with  Buddhism.  The 
custom  appears  to  be  followed,  moreover,  in  many 
places,  such  as  the  interior  of  Sumatra,  where  Chinese 
influence  is  non-existent.  In  Siam,  again,  it  appears 
to  obtain  very  strongly ; l  but  no  reason  has  yet  been 
shown  for  supposing  that  this  is  anything  but  an 
instance  of  the  similarity  of  results  independently  ar- 
rived at  by  nations  starting  with  similar  premisses. 

The  ear-boring  and  tooth-filing  ceremonies  which 
still  not  infrequently  take  place  at  the  age  of  puberty 
in  both  sexes  are  of  no  less  religious  import  than  the 
rite  of  cutting  the  first  lock.  The  main  details  of  these 
ceremonies  will  be  described  in  a  later  part  of  this 

To  the  same  category  (of  sacred  things  having 
physical  connection  with  the  body)  should  doubtless  be 
referred  such  objects  as  the  eyebrows,  the  saliva,  and 
soil  taken  from  the  (naked)  footstep,  all  of  which  are 
utilised  by  the  magician  to  achieve  his  nefarious  ends. 

1   "  Ces  danseurs  et  ces  danseuses  ont  thumb-nails  very   long,  especially  that 

tous  des  ongles  faux,  et  fort  longs,  de  on  their  left  thumb,  for  they  do  never 

cuivre  jaune." — La  Loubere,  Royaume  cut  it,  but  scrape  it  often." — Dampier's 

de  Siam,  tome  i.  pp.  148-150  (quoted  Voyages,  vol.  i.  pp.  325,  326. 

by  Crawf.,.#z.rf.  Indian  Arch.  i.  p.  131).  2    Vide   infra,   Chap.  VI.   pp.    355- 

Cp.   "  They  have  a  custom  to  wear  their  360. 


(c)    The  Soul 

The  Malay  conception  of  the  Human  Soul 
ngaty-  is  that  of  a  species  of  "Thumbling,"  "a 
thin,  unsubstantial  human  image,"  or  mannikin,  which 
is  temporarily  absent  from  the  body  in  sleep,  trance, 
disease,  and  permanently  absent  after  death. 

This  mannikin,  which  is  usually  invisible  but  is 
supposed  to  be  about  as  big  as  the  thumb,  corresponds 
exactly  in  shape,  proportion,  and  even  in  complexion,  to 
its  embodiment  or  casing  (sarong),  i.e.  the  body  in  which 
it  has  its  residence.  It  is  of  a  "vapoury,  shadowy,  or 
filmy"  essence,  though  not  so  impalpable  but  that  it  may 
cause  displacement  on  entering  a  physical  object,  and 
as  it  can  "fly"  or  "flash"  quickly  from  place  to  place, 
it  is  often,  perhaps  metaphorically,  addressed  as  if  it 
were  a  bird.2 

Thus  in  a  charm  given  in  the  Appendix  we  find — 

"  Hither,  Soul,  come  hither  ! 
Hither,  Little  One,  come  hither  ! 
Hither,  Bird,  come  hither ! 
Hither,  Filmy  One,  come  hither  !  "  3 

As  this  mannikin  is  the  exact  reproduction  in  every 
way  of  its  bodily  counterpart,  and  is  "the  cause  of  life 
and  thought  in  the  individual  it  animates,"  it  may  readily 
be  endowed  with  quasi-human  feelings,  and  "independ- 
ently possess  the  personal  consciousness  and  volition  of 

1  Or  Sumangat.     The  derivation  of  word  kur  or  kerrt  by  which  fowls  are 

the  word  is  unknown  :  possibly  it  may  called,  is  almost  always  used  ;  in  fact, 

be  connected  with  sangat,  "  excessive,"  "  kur    sZmangat'"     ("cluck!     cluck! 

or    bangat,    "sudden,    quick."      The  soul!")  is  such  a  common  expression  of 

meaning  covers  both  "soul"  and  "life"  astonishment  among  the  Malays  that  its 

(i.e.  not  the  state  of  being  alive,  but  the  force  is  little  more  than  "good  gracious 

cause  thereof  or  "vital  principle").  me  !"  (vide  infra,  p.  534,  note). 

-  In   calling    the   soul,    a  clucking  3   Vide  App.  vi. 

sound,   represented   in   Malay   by  the 


its  corporeal  owner."  Thus  we  find  the  following 
appeal  addressed  to  the  soul  in  the  charm  just 
quoted : — 

"  Do  not  bear  grudges, 
Do  not  bear  malice, 
Do  not  take  it  as  a  wrong, 
Do  not  take  it  as  a  transgression." 

These  quasi-human  attributes  of  the  soul  being  so 
complete,  it  is  an  easy  stretch  of  the  imagination  to 
provide  it  with  a  house,  which  is  generally  in  practice 
identified  with  the  body  of  its  owner,  but  may  also  be 
identified  with  any  one  of  its  temporary  domiciles. 
Thus  in  the  charm  already  quoted  we  read — 

"  Return  to  your  own  House  and  House-ladder, 
To  your  own  House-floor,  of  which  the  planks  have  started, 
And  your  Roof-thatch  '  starred '  with  holes." 

The  state  of  disrepair  into  which  the  soul's  house 
(i.e.  the  sick  man's  body)  is  described  as  having  fallen, 
is  here  attributed  to  the  soul's  absence.1  The  com- 
pleteness of  this  figurative  identification  of  the  soul's 
"  house "  with  its  owner's  body,  and  of  the  soul's 
"  sheath  "  or  casing  with  both,  is  very  clearly  brought 
out  in  the  following  lines  : — 

"  Cluck  !  cluck  !     Soul  of  this  sick  man,  So-and-so  ! 
Return  into  the  Frame  and  Body  of  So-and-so^ 
To  your  own  House  and  House-ladder,  to  your  own  Clearing  and 

To  your  own  Parents,  to  your  own  Casing." 

And  this  is  no  mere  chance  expression,  for  in  another 
charm  the  soul  is  adjured  in  these  words : — 

1  In   another  charm  we  find   the  sick  man's  body  compared  to  a  weather- 
beaten  barque  at  sea. 


"  As  you  remember  your  own  parents,  remember  me, 
As  you  remember  your  own  House  and  House-ladder,  remember 
me."  i 

The  soul  "  appears  to  men  (both  waking  and  asleep) 
as  a  phantom  separate  from  the  body  of  which  it  bears 
the  likeness,"  "  manifests  physical  power,"  and  walks, 
sits,  and  sleeps  :— 

"  Cluck  !  cluck  !     Soul  of  So-and-so,  come  and  walk  with  me, 
Come  and  sit  with  me, 
Come  and  sleep  with  me,  and  share  my  pillow.  "  2 

It  would  probably  be  wrong  to  assume  the  fore- 
going expressions  to  have  always  been  merely  figura- 
tive. Rather,  perhaps,  we  should  consider  them  as  part 
of  a  singularly  complete  and  consistent  animistic  system 
formerly  invented  and  still  held  by  the  Malays.  Again, 
from  the  above  ideas  it  follows  that  if  you  call  a  soul  in 
the  right  way  it  will  hear  and  obey  you,  and  you  will 
thus  be  able  either  to  recall  to  its  owner's  body  a  soul 
which  is  escaping  (riang  semangat),  or  to  abduct  the 
soul  of  a  person  whom  you  may  wish  to  get  into  your 
power  (mengambil  semangat  orang],  and  induce  it  to 
take  up  its  residence  in  a  specially  prepared  receptacle, 
such  as  (a)  a  lump  of  earth  which  has  been  sympa- 
thetically connected  by  direct  contact  with  the  body  of 
the  soul's  owner,  or  (<£)  a  wax  mannikin  so  connected 
by  indirect  means,  or  even  (c)  a  cloth  which  has  had  no 
such  connection  whatever.  And  when  you  have  suc- 
ceeded in  getting  it  into  your  power  the  abducted  and 
now  imprisoned  soul  will  naturally  enjoy  any  latitude 

1  Vide  App.  cclxxi.  tion  in  Primitive  Culture,   vol.   i.  p. 

2  The  entire  conception  of  the  soul  387,  and  hence  I  have  not  hesitated  to 
among  the  Malays  agrees  word  for  word  use  his  exact  words  in  so  far  as  they 
with  Professor  Tyler's  classical  defini-  were  applicable. 



allowed    to    (and    suffer   from    any    mutilation   of)    its 
temporary  domicile  or  embodiment.1 

Every  man  is  supposed  (it  would  appear  from 
Malay  charms)  to  possess  seven  souls2  in  all,  or,  per- 
haps, I  should  more  accurately  say,  a  sevenfold  soul.3 
This  "  septenity  in  unity  "  may  perhaps  be  held  to  ex- 
plain the  remarkable  importance  and  persistency  of  the 
number  seven  in  Malay  magic,  as  for  instance  the 
seven  twigs  of  the  birch,  and  the  seven  repetitions  of 
the  charm  (in  Soul-abduction 4),  the  seven  betel  leaves, 
the  seven  nights'  duration  of  the  ceremony,  the  seven 
blows  administered  to  the  soul  (in  other  magical  and 
medical  ceremonies),  and  the  seven  ears  cut  for  the 
Rice-soul  in  reaping.5 

And,  finally,  it  might  explain  why  the  lime-branch 
which  is  hung  up  in  the  mosquito-curtain  (in  another 
form  of  soul-abduction6)  is  required  to  possess  seven 
fruits  on  a  single  stalk,  i.e.  to  ensure  there  being  a 
separate  receptacle  for  each  one  of  the  seven  souls. 

At  the  present  day  the  ordinary  Malay  talks  usually 
of  only  a  single  soul,  although  he  still  keeps  up  the 
old  phraseology  in  his  charms  and  charm-books.  For 
the  rest,  it  would  appear  that  there  may  be  some 
method  in  the  selection  and  arrangement  of  colours. 

The  "lump  of  earth  from  the  victim's  footprint" 
used  in  one  form  of  the  soul-abduction  ceremony 7  is  to 

1  Cp.    Tylor,  Prim.    Cult.    vol.    i.  Cp.   Tylor,    op.   cit.   vol.    i.    pp.   391, 
p.  422.  392. 

2  What  these  seven  souls  were  it  is  3  Professor    Tylor    calls    this    "  a 
impossible  without  more    evidence   to  combination  of  several  kinds  of  spirit, 
determine.      All    that   can    be  said   is  soul,    or    image,    to    which    different 
that   they  were    most    probably  seven  functions  belong  "(<?/.  cit.  vol.  i.  pp.  391, 
different    manifestations    of   the    same  392). 

soul.      Such  might  be  the  Shadow-soul,  4  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  p.  569. 

the  Reflection -soul,  the   Puppet -soul,  5  Infra,  Chap.  V.  p.  241. 

the  Bird-soul  (?),  the  Life-soul,  etc,  but  6  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  p.  575. 

as  yet  no  evidence   is  forthcoming. —  7  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  p.  568. 


be  wrapped  up  in  three  thicknesses  of  cloth,  which  must 
be  red,  black,  and  yellow  respectively,  the  yellow  being 
outside.  Again  (in  the  ceremony  of  casting  out  "  the 
mischief"  from  a  sick  man),  a  white  cosmetic  is  assigned 
for  use  in  the  morning,  a  red  cosmetic  for  mid -day, 
and  black  for  sundown.1 

Now  in  all,  I  believe,  of  what  are  now  called  the 
Federated  Malay  States,  and  probably  in  all  Malay 
States  whatsoever,  yellow  is  the  colour  used  by 
royalty,  whereas  the  more  exalted  and  sacred  colour, 
white  (with  occasional  lapses  into  yellow),  has  been 
adopted  by  Malay  medicine-men  as  the  colour  most 
likely  to  conciliate  the  spirits  and  demons  with  whom 
they  have  to  deal.  Thus  the  soul-cloth,  which,  by  the 
way,  is  always  five  cubits  long  (lima  hasta),  is  sometimes 
white  and  (much  more  rarely)  yellow,  and  hence  in  the 
first  instance  just  quoted,  the  yellow  cloth,  being,  next 
to  white,  of  the  colour  which  is  most  complimentary  to 
the  demons,  is  the  one  which  is  put  outside ;  and  in 
the  second  instance,  for  similar  reasons,  the  white 
cosmetic  is  to  be  used  first. 

The  working  out  of  this  system,  however,  must 
await  fresh  evidence,  and  all  I  would  do  now  is  to 
emphasise  the  importance  of  colour  in  such  investi- 
gations, and  to  urge  the  collection  of  fresh  material. 2 

1  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  p.  431. 

2  We  might  then  expect  to  get  some  such  table  as  the  following  : — 

Colours  of  Cloths  /-.  ,  f  /->         ,-  Colours  of  Rice 

(used  to  enwrap  the  lump      ,  C°T^  tf  C9s{"etlci\       (such  as  may  be  used 
of  earth  from  the  footprint).     <used  ^  the  slck  man>'          by  medicine-men). 

white  white.          Highest  Colour, 

yellow  ...  yellow.      \ 


red  red  red.          >  Medium      „ 

purple  or  orange  I 
green.      J 

black  black  black.         Lowest        ,, 

Green  is  not  a  common  colour.  Blue  ever,  the  colour  assigned  to  a  (fabu- 
appears  to  be  rarely  used.  It  is,  how-  lous  (?))  champaka  flower,  which 


(d)  Animal,  Vegetable,  and  Mineral  Souls 

Hitherto  I  have  treated  of  human  souls  only, 
but  animal,  mineral,  and  vegetable  souls  will  now  be 
briefly  discussed.  Speaking  generally,  I  believe  the 
soul  to  be,  within  certain  limits,  conceived  as  a 
diminutive  but  exact  counterpart  of  its  own  em- 
bodiment, so  that  an  Animal-soul  would  be  like  an 
animal,  a  Bird-soul  like  a  bird ;  however,  lower  in  the 
scale  of  creation  it  would  appear  that  the  Tree-  or 
Ore-souls,  for  instance,  are  supposed,  occasionally  at 
least,  to  assume  the  shape  of  some  animal  or  bird. 
Thus  the  soul  of  Eagle -wood  is  thought  to  take  the 
shape  of  a  bird,  the  soul  of  Tin-ore  that  of  a  buffalo, 
the  Gold-soul  that  of  a  deer.1  It  has,  how- 
ever, always  been  recognised  that  the  soul  may 
enter  other  bodies  besides  its  own,  or  even  bodies 
of  a  different  kind  to  its  own,  and  hence  these 
may  be  only  apparent  exceptions  to  the  rule  that 
the  soul  should  be  the  counterpart  of  its  own  embodi- 

"Among  races  within  the  limits  of  savagery,  the 
general  doctrine  of  souls  is  found  worked  out  with 
remarkable  breadth  and  consistency.  The  souls  of 
animals  are  recognised  by  a  natural  extension  from 
the  theory  of  human  souls ;  the  souls  of  trees  and 
plants  follow  in  some  vague,  partial  way,  and  the 

is  supposed  to  be  the  rarest  of  its  kind  be  explained  by  the  "  notion  of  a  vege- 

(vide  p.  29  n.  supra).   Orange  (jingga]  is  table  soul,  common  to  plants  and  to  the 

also  extremely  rare,  though    it  is  oc-  higher  organisms,  possessing  an  animal 

casionally  used    for  certain  decorative  soul  in  addition  "  ?  and  are  we  to  take 

work  (e.g.  small  wedding-pillows).  this  as  only  "one  more  instance  of  the 

1  Infra,  Chap.  V.  pp.  211,250,  251.  fuller   identification    of    the    souls    of 

2  Or  is  this  phenomenon  of  a  bird-  plants  with  the  souls  of  animals"? — 
shaped  soul  inhabiting  certain  trees  to  Tylor,  op.  cit.  vol.  i.  pp.  428,  429. 


souls   of  inanimate  objects  expand  the  general  cate- 
gory to  its  extremest  boundary."1 

To  the  Malay  who  has  arrived  at  the  idea  of  a 
generally  animated  Nature,  but  has  not  yet  learned  to 
draw  scientific  distinctions,  there  appears  nothing 
remarkable  or  unnatural  in  the  idea  of  vegetation-souls, 
or  even  in  that  of  mineral -souls — rather  would  he 
consider  us  Europeans  illogical  and  inconsistent  were 
he  told  that  we  allowed  the  possession  of  souls  to  one 
half  of  the  creation  and  denied  it  to  the  other. 

Realising  this,  we  are  prepared  to  find  that  the 
Malay  theory  of  Animism  embraces,  at  least  partially, 
the  human  race,2  animals3  and  birds,4  vegetation5  (trees 
and  plants),  reptiles  and  fishes,6  until  its  extension  to 
inert  objects,  such  as  minerals,7  and  "  stocks  and  stones, 
weapons,  boats,  food,  clothes,  ornaments,  and  other 
objects,  which  to  us  are  not  merely  soulless,  but  life- 
less," brings  us  face  to  face  with  a  conception  with 
which  "  we  are  less  likely  to  sympathise." 

Side  by  side  with  this  general  conception  of  an  uni- 
versally animate  nature,  we  find  abundant  evidences  of 
a  special  theory  of  Human  Origin  which  is  held  to 
account  not  only  for  the  larger  mammals,  but  also  for 
the  existence  of  a  large  number  of  birds,  and  even  for 
that  of  a  few  reptiles,  fishes,  trees  and  plants,  but 
seems  to  lose  its  operative  force  in  proportion  to  its 
descent  in  the  scale  of  creation,  until  in  the  lowest 
scale  of  all,  the  theory  of  Human  Origin  disappears 

1  Professor  Tylor's  pregnant  phrase-  subject,    ibid.   p.    423. — Prim.    Cult. 

ology  in  this  connection  is  entirely  ap-  vol.  i.  p.  422. 

plicable   to   the    Malays,    who    "talk  2  Infra   Medicine,  Divination,  etc. 

quite  seriously  to  beasts  alive  or  dead  3  Infra 

as  they  would  to  men  alive  or  dead,  *  Infra 

offer  them  homage,  ask  pardon  when  it  5  Infra 

is  their  painful  duty  to  hunt  and  kill  e  Infra 

them. "    Cp.  also  his  remarks  upon  this  7  Infra 

Hunting  charms. 
Fowling  charms. 
Vegetation  charms. 
Fishing  charms. 
Mining  charms. 


from  sight,  and  nothing  remains  but  the  partial  ap- 
plication of  a  few  vague  anthropomorphic  attributes.1 
It  is,  doubtless,  to  the  prevalence  of  this  theory  that 
we  owe  the  extraordinary  persistence  of  anthropo- 
morphic ideas  about  animals,  birds,  reptiles,  trees,  if 
not  of  minerals,  in  Malay  magical  ceremonies ; 2  and 
it  is  hard  to  say  which  of  these  two  notions — the 
theory  of  Human  Origin,  or  the  other  theory  of  Uni- 
versal Animism — is  to  be  considered  the  original  form 
of  Malay  belief. 

The  following  tale,  which  is  entitled  Charitra 
Megat  Sajobang,  and  is  told  by  Selangor  Malays,  will 
serve  as  an  illustration  of  the  idea  of  Human  Origin  :— 

"  There  was  a  married  Sakai  couple  living  at  Ulu 
Klang,  and  they  had  a  son  called  Megat  Sajobang. 
When  he  grew  up  he  said  to  his  mother,  '  Mother,  get 
me  a  passage,  I  want  to  go  and  see  other  countries.' 
She  did  so,  and  he  left  Ulu  Klang ;  and  ten  or  twelve 
years  later,  when  he  had  grown  rich  enough  to  buy  a 
splendid  ship  (p'rafat),  he  returned  with  his  wife,  who 
was  with  child,  and  seven  midwives,  who  were  watched 
over  by  one  of  his  body-guard  with  a  drawn  sword. 
His  mother  heard  the  news  of  his  return,  and  she  made 
ready,  roasting  a  chika  (monkey)  and  lotong  (monkey), 
and  went  with  his  father  on  board  their  bark  canoe  to 
meet  their  son. 

"  As  they  approached  they  hailed  him  by  his  name ; 
but  he  was  ashamed  of  their  humble  appearance,  and 
forbade  his  men  to  let  them  on  board.  Though  his 
wife  advised  him  to  acknowledge  them,  '  even  if  they 

1  The  central  idea  of  this  conception  which  they  were  not  invariably  them  - 

appears  to  be  that  these  animals,  birds,  selves  responsible, 
and  trees  were  once  human  beings,  but  2   Vide     introductory    remarks     to 

were  turned  into  their  present  shapes  Hunting,  Fowling,   Fishing,  Planting, 

by  reason  of  some   wrongful   act   for  and  Mining  charms. 


were  pigs  or  dogs,'  the  unfilial  son  persisted  in  turning 
them  away.  So  they  went  back  to  the  shore  and  sat 
down  and  wept ;  and  the  old  mother,  laying  her  hand 
upon  her  shrivelled  breast,  said,  '  If  thou  art  really  my 
son,  reared  at  my  breast,  mayest  thou  be  changed  into 
stone.'  In  response  to  her  prayer,  milk  came  forth 
from  her  breast,  and  as  she  walked  away,  the  ship  and 
all  on  board  were  turned  into  stone.  The  mother 
turned  round  once  more  to  look  at  her  son,  but  the 
father  did  not,  and  by  the  power  of  God  they  were 
both  turned  into  trees  of  the  species  pauh  (a  kind  of 
mango)  one  leaning  seawards  and  the  other  towards 
the  land.  The  fruit  of  the  seaward  one  is  sweet,  but 
that  of  the  landward  one  is  bitter. 

"  The  ship  has  now  become  a  hill,  and  originally 
was  complete  with  all  its  furniture,  but  the  Malays  used 
to  borrow  the  plates  and  cups,  etc.,  for  feast  days  and 
did  not  return  them,  until  at  last  there  were  none  left." 


(a)  The  Magician 

"  THE  accredited  intermediary  between  men  and 
spirits  is  the  Pawang  ;l  the  Pawang  is  a  functionary  of 
great  and  traditional  importance  in  a  Malay  village, 
though  in  places  near  towns  the  office  is  falling  into 
abeyance.  In  the  inland  districts,  however,  the 
Pawang  is  still  a  power,  and  is  regarded  as  part 
of  the  constituted  order  of  society,  without  whom  no 
village  community  would  be  complete.  It  must  be 
clearly  understood  that  he  has  nothing  whatever  to  do 
with  the  official  Muhammadan  religion  of  the  mosque  ; 
the  village  has  its  regular  staff  of  elders — the  Imam, 
Khatib,  and  Bilal — for  the  mosque  service.  But  the 
Pawang  is  quite  outside  this  system,  and  belongs  to  a 
different  and  much  older  order  of  ideas ;  he  may  be 
regarded  as  the  legitimate  representative  of  the  primi- 
tive '  medicine  -  man  '  or  '  village  -sorcerer,'  and  his 
very  existence  in  these  days  is  an  anomaly,  though  it 
does  not  strike  Malays  as  such. 

1  "  The  titles  Pawang  and  Bomor  are  The  Bomor  usually  practise  their  art 

given  by  the  Malays  to  their  medicine  for  the  cure  of  human  disease.      Both 

men.     The  Pawang  class  perform  magic  terms  are,  however,  often  used  as  though 

practices  in  order  to  find  ore,  medicine  they  were  interchangeable." — Clifford, 

crops,  or  ensure  good  takes  of  fish,  etc.  Hik.  Raja  Budiman,  pt.  ii.  p.  28  n. 


"Very  often  the  office  is  hereditary,  or  at  least  the 
appointment  is  practically  confined  to  the  members  of 
one  family.  Sometimes  it  is  endowed  with  certain 
1  properties '  handed  down  from  one  Pawang  to  his 
successor,  known  as  the  kabesaran,  or,  as  it  were, 
regalia.  On  one  occasion  I  was  nearly  called  upon  to 
decide  whether  these  adjuncts — which  consisted,  in 
this  particular  case,  of  a  peculiar  kind  of  head-dress — 
were  the  personal  property  of  the  person  then  in  pos- 
session of  them  (who  had  got  them  from  his  father,  a 
deceased  Pawang],  or  were  to  be  regarded  as  official 
insignia  descending  with  the  office  in  the  event  of  the 
natural  heir  declining  to  serve !  Fortunately  I  was 
spared  the  difficult  task  of  deciding  this  delicate  point 
of  law,  as  I  managed  to  persuade  the  owner  to  take  up 
the  appointment. 

11  But  quite  apart  from  such  external  marks  of  dig- 
nity, the  Pawang  is  a  person  of  very  real  significance. 
In  all  agricultural  operations,  such  as  sowing,  reaping, 
irrigation  works,  and  the  clearing  of  jungle  for  plant- 
ing, in  fishing  at  sea,  in  prospecting  for  minerals,  and 
in  cases  of  sickness,  his  assistance  is  invoked.  He  is 
entitled  by  custom  to  certain  small  fees ;  thus,  after  a 
good  harvest  he  is  allowed,  in  some  villages,  five 
gantangs  of  padi,  one  gantang  of  rice  (beras\  and  two 
chupaks  of  emping  (a  preparation  of  rice  and  cocoa-nut 
made  into  a  sort  of  sweetmeat)  from  each  householder. 
After  recovery  from  sickness  his  remuneration  is  the 
very  modest  amount  of  tiga  wang  baharu,  that  is,  7^ 

"It  is  generally  believed  that  a  good  harvest  can 
only  be  secured  by  complying  with  his  instructions, 
which  are  of  a  peculiar  and  comprehensive  character. 

"  They  consist  largely  of  prohibitions,  which   are 


known  as  pantang.  Thus,  for  instance,  it  is  pantang  in 
some  places  to  work  in  the  rice-field  on  the  i4th  and 
1 5th  days  of  the  lunar  month  ;  and  this  rule  of  enforced 
idleness,  being  very  congenial  to  the  Malay  character, 
is,  I  believe,  pretty  strictly  observed. 

"Again,  in  reaping,  certain  instruments  are  pro- 
scribed, and  in  the  inland  villages  it  is  regarded  as  a 
great  crime  to  use  the  sickle  (sabif)  for  cutting  the 
padi ;  at  the  very  least  the  first  few  ears  should  be  cut 
with  a  tuai,  a  peculiar  small  instrument  consisting  of  a 
semicircular  blade  set  transversely  on  a  piece  of  wood 
or  bamboo,  which  is  held  between  the  fingers,  and 
which  cuts  only  an  ear  or  two  at  a  time.  Also  the 
padi  must  not  be  threshed  by  hitting  it  against  the  in- 
side of  a  box,  a  practice  known  as  banting  padi. 

"In  this,  as  in  one  or  two  other  cases,  it  may  be 
supposed  that  the  Pawangs  ordinances  preserve  the 
older  forms  of  procedure  and  are  opposed  to  innova- 
tions in  agricultural  methods.  The  same  is  true  of 
the  pantang  (i.e.  taboo)  rule  which  prescribes  a  fixed 
rate  of  price  at  which  padi  may  be  sold  in  the  village 
community  to  members  of  the  same  village.  This 
system  of  customary  prices  is  probably  a  very  old  relic 
of  a  time  when  the  idea  of  asking  a  neighbour  or  a 
member  of  your  own  tribe  to  pay  a  competition  price 
for  an  article  was  regarded  as  an  infringement  of  com- 
munal rights.  It  applies  to  a  few  other  articles  of 
local  produce l  besides  padi,  and  I  was  frequently  as- 

1  In  Bukit  Senggeh  the  articles  subject  to  this  custom  are  priced  as  follows : — 
Padi  (unhusked  rice)      .      3  cents  a  gantang  (about  a  gallon). 
B?ras  (husked  rice)         .    10  cents  a  gantang. 

Kabong  (i.e.  palm)  sugar     2\  cents  a  "  buku  "  of  two  pieces  and  weigh- 
ing a  kati  (l£  Ib.  avoir.) 
Cocoa-nuts   .          .  I  cent  each. 

Hen's  eggs  .          .          •     i  cent  each- 
Duck's  eggs  .         .     I  cent  each. 


sured  that  the  neglect  of  this  wholesome  rule  was  the 
cause  of  bad  harvests.  I  was  accordingly  pressed  to 
fine  transgressors,  which  would  perhaps  have  been  a 
somewhat  difficult  thing  to  do.  The  fact,  however, 
that  in  many  places  these  rules  are  generally  observed 
is  a  tribute  to  the  influence  of  the  Pawang  who  lends 
his  sanction  to  them." 1 

"  The  Pawang  keeps  a  familiar  spirit,  which  in  his 
case  is  a  hantu  piisaka,  that  is,  an  hereditary  spirit 
which  runs  in  the  family,  in  virtue  of  which  he  is  able 
to  deal  summarily  with  the  wild  spirits  of  an  obnoxious 

The  foregoing  description  is  so  precise  and  clear 
that  I  have  not  much  to  add  to  it.  There  are,  how- 
ever, one  or  two  points  which  require  emphasis.  One 
of  these  is  that  the  priestly  magician  stands  in  certain 
respects  on  the  same  footing  as  the  divine  man  or 
king — that  is  to  say,  he  owns  certain  insignia  which  are 
exactly  analogous  to  the  regalia  of  the  latter,  and  are, 
as  Mr.  Blagden  points  out,  called  by  the  same  name 
(kabesaran).  He  shares,  moreover,  with  the  king  the 
right  to  make  use  of  cloth  dyed  with  the  royal  colour 
(yellow),  and,  like  the  king,  too,  possesses  the  right  to 
enforce  the  use  of  certain  ceremonial  words  and  phrases, 
in  which  respect,  indeed,  his  list  is  longer,  if  anything, 
than  that  of  royalty. 

He  also  acts  as  a  sort  of  spirit-medium  and  gives 
oracles  in  trances  ;  possesses  considerable  political  in- 
fluence ;  practises  (very  occasional)  austerities ;  observes 
some  degree  of  chastity,  and  appears  quite  sincere  in 
his  conviction  of  his  own  powers.  At  least  he  always 
has  a  most  plausible  excuse  ready  to  account  for  his 

1  C.  O.  Blagden  mJ.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  29,  pp.  5-7. 
2  Ibid.  p.  4. 


inability  to  do  whatever  is  required.  An  aged  magician 
who  came  from  Perak  to  doctor  one  of  H.H.  the 
Sultan's  sons  (Raja  Kahar)  while  I  was  at  Langat,  had 
the  unusual  reputation  of  being  able  to  raise  a  sand- 
bank in  the  sea  at  will ;  but  when  I  asked  if  I  could  see 
it  done,  he  explained  that  it  could  only  be  done  in  time 
of  war  when  he  was  hard  pressed  by  an  enemy's  boat, 
and  he  could  not  do  it  for  the  sake  of  mere  ostentation  ! 
Moreover,  like  members  of  their  profession  all  the 
world  over,  these  medicine-men  are,  perhaps  naturally, 
extremely  reticent ;  it  was  seldom  that  they  would  let 
their  books  be  seen,  much  less  copied,  even  for  fair 
payment,  and  a  Pawang  once  refused  to  tell  me  a 
charm  until  I  had  taken  my  shoes  off  and  was  seated 
with  him  upon  a  yellow  cloth  while  he  repeated  the 
much-prized  formula. 

The  office  of  magician  is,  as  has  been  said,  very 
often  hereditary.  It  is  not  so  always,  however,  there 
being  certain  recognised  ways  in  which  a  man  may 
"  get  magic."  One  of  the  most  peculiar  is  as  follows  : 
"  To  obtain  magical  powers  ('etmu)  you  must  meet  the 
ghost  of  a  murdered  man.  Take  the  midrib  of  a  leaf 
of  the  '  ivory '  cocoa-nut  palm  (pelepak  niyor  gading), 
which  is  to  be  laid  on  the  grave,  and  two  more  midribs, 
which  are  intended  to  represent  canoe-paddles,  and 
carry  them  with  the  help  of  a  companion  to  the  grave 
of  the  murdered  man  at  the  time  of  the  full  moon  (the 
1 5th  day  of  the  lunar  month)  when  it  falls  upon  a  Tues- 
day. Then  take  a  cent's  worth  of  incense,  with 
glowing  embers  in  a  censer,  and  carry  them  to  the 
head-post  of  the  grave  of  the  deceased.  Fumigate 
the  grave,  going  three  times  round  it,  and  call  upon 
the  murdered  man  by  name  : — 


'  Hearken,  So-and-so, 
And  assist  me ; 

I  am  taking  (this  boat)  to  the  saints  of  God, 
And  I  desire  to  ask  for  a  little  magic.' 1 

Here  take  the  first  midrib,  fumigate  it,  and  lay  it  upon 
the  head  of  the  grave,  repeating  '  Kur  Allah '  ('  Cluck, 
cluck,  God  ! ')  seven  times.  You  and  your  companion 
must  now  take  up  a  sitting  posture,  one  at  the  head 
and  the  other  at  the  foot  of  the  grave,  facing  the  grave 
post,  and  use  the  canoe- paddles  which  you  have 
brought.  In  a  little  while  the  surrounding  scenery 
will  change  and  take  upon  itself  the  appearance  of  the 
sea,  and  finally  an  aged  man  will  appear,  to  whom 
you  must  address  the  same  request  as  before." 

(6)  High  Places 

"  Although  officially  the  religious  centre  of  the 
village  community  is  the  mosque,  there  is  usually 
in  every  small  district  a  holy  place  known  as  the 
kramat?  at  which  vows  are  paid  on  special  occasions, 
and  which  is  invested  with  a  very  high  degree  of 
reverence  and  sanctity. 

1  The  Malay  version  runs  : —  to  get  whatever  he  wishes  for,  who  is 
"Jfet  angkau  Si  Anu,                              able   to   foretell    events,    and    whose 

Tolong-lah  aku  presence  brings  good  fortune  to  all  his 

Aku  bawakan  kapada  anlia  Allah,  surroundings.      District  officers  will  be 

Aku  'na&  minta  *elmu  sadikit."  proud  to  know  that  in  this  last  sense 

This  method  of  getting  magic  is  an  the    word    is   occasionally   applied   to 

exact   transcription   of   the   words   in  them.       When   the   name    kramat   is 

which  it  was  dictated  to  me  by  a  Kel-  applied  to  a  place,  I  understand  it  to 

antan  Malay  ('Che  'Abas)  then  residing  mean  a  holy  place,  a  place  of  pilgrim- 

at  KJanang  in  Selangor.  age ;  but  it  does  not  necessarily  mean 

2  Cp.  Mr.  G.  C.  Bellamy  in  Selangor  a  grave,  as  many  people  think.     I  can 
Journal,  vol.  ii.   No.    6,    p.   90,  who  quote  the  kramat  at  Batu  Ampar,  Jugra, 
says:   "  The  word  kramat,  as  applied  and   numerous  places  on  river  banks 
to  a  man  or  woman,  may  be  roughly  where  no  graves  exist,  but  yet  they  are 
translated  prophet  or  magician.     It  is  called  kramat "s."     [There  is,  however, 
difficult    to   convey  the  real  idea,   as  a    tradition    that    a    saint's    leg  was 
Malays  call  a  man  kramat  who  is  able  buried  at  Batu  Ham  par !  — W.  S.] 


"  These  kramats  abound  in  Malacca  territory  ;  there 
is  hardly  a  village  but  can  boast  some  two  or  three  in 
its  immediate  neighbourhood,  and  they  are  perfectly 
well  known  to  all  the  inhabitants. 

"  Theoretically,  kramats  are  supposed  to  be  the 
graves  of  deceased  holy  men,  the  early  apostles  of  the 
Muhammadan  faith,  the  first  founders  of  the  village 
who  cleared  the  primeval  jungle,  or  other  persons  of 
local  notoriety  in  a  former  age ;  and  there  is  no  doubt 
that  many  of  them  are  that  and  nothing  more.  But 
even  so,  the  reverence  paid  to  them  and  the  ceremonies 
that  are  performed  at  them  savour  a  good  deal  too 
much  of  ancestor-worship  to  be  attributable  to  an 
orthodox  Muhammadan  origin. 

"  It  is  certain,  however,  that  many  of  these  kramats 
are  not  graves  at  all :  many  of  them  are  in  the  jungle, 
on  hills  and  in  groves,  like  the  high  places  of  the  Old 
Testament  idolatries  ;  they  contain  no  trace  of  a  grave 
(while  those  that  are  found  in  villages  usually  have 
grave-stones),  and  they  appear  to  be  really  ancient 
sites  of  a  primitive  nature- worship  or  the  adoration  of 
the  spirits  of  natural  objects. 

"  Malays,  when  asked  to  account  for  them,  often 
have  recourse  to  the  explanations  that  they  are  kramat 
jin,  that  is,  "  spirit  "-places  ;  and  if  a  Malay  is  pressed 
on  the  point,  and  thinks  that  the  orthodoxy  of  these 
practices  is  being  impugned,  he  will  sometimes  add  that 
the/zVz  in  question  is  &jin  is  lam,  a  Muhammadan  and 
quite  orthodox  spirit ! 

"  Thus  on  Bukit  Nyalas,  near  the  Johol  frontier, 
there  is  a  kramat  consisting  of  a  group  of  granite 
boulders  on  a  ledge  of  rock  overhanging  a  sheer  descent 
of  a  good  many  feet ;  bamboo  clumps  grow  on  the 
place,  and  there  were  traces  of  religious  rites  having 


been  performed  there,  but  no  grave  whatever.  This 
place  was  explained  to  me  to  be  the  kramat  of  one 
Nakhoda  Hussin,  described  as  a  jin  (of  the  orthodox 
variety),  who  presides  over  the  water,  rain,  and  streams. 
People  occasionally  burned  incense  there  to  avert 
drought  and  get  enough  water  for  irrigating  their 
fields.  There  was  another  kramat  of  his  lower  down 
the  hill,  also  consisting  of  rocks,  one  of  which  was 
shaped  something  like  a  boat.  I  was  informed  that 
\h\sjin  is  attended  by  tigers  which  guard  the  hill,  and 
are  very  jealous  of  the  intrusion  of  other  tigers  from 
the  surrounding  country.  He  is  believed  to  have 
revealed  himself  to  the  original  Pawang  of  the  village, 
the  mythical  founder  of  the  kampong  of  Nyalas.  In  a 
case  like  this  it  seems  probable  that  the  name  attached 
to  this  object  of  reverence  is  a  later  accretion,  and  that 
under  a  thin  disguise  we  have  here  a  relic  of  the  wor- 
ship of  the  spirit  of  rivers  and  streams,  a  sort  of 
elemental  deity  localised  in  this  particular  place,  and 
still  regarded  as  a  proper  object  of  worship  and  pro- 
pitiation, in  spite  of  the  theoretically  strict  monotheism 
of  the  Muhammadan  creed.  Again,  at  another  place 
the  kramat  is  nothing  but  a  tree,  of  somewhat  singular 
shape,  having  a  large  swelling  some  way  up  the  trunk. 
It  was  explained  to  me  that  this  tree  was  connected  in 
a  special  way  with  the  prospects  of  local  agriculture, 
the  size  of  the  swelling  increasing  in  good  years  and 
diminishing  in  bad  seasons !  Hence  it  was  naturally 
regarded  with  considerable  awe  by  the  purely  agricul- 
tural population  of  the  neighbourhood. 

"  As  may  be  imagined,  it  is  exceedingly  difficult  to 
discover  any  authentic  facts  regarding  the  history  of 
these  numerous  kramats :  even  where  there  is  some 
evidence  of  the  existence  of  a  grave,  the  name  of  the 


departed  saint  is  usually  the  one  fact  that  is  remembered, 
and  often  even  that  is  forgotten.  The  most  celebrated 
of  the  Malacca  kramats,  the  one  at  Machap,  is  a 
representative  type  of  the  first  class,  that  in  which  there 
really  is  a  grave  :  it  is  the  one  place  where  a  hardened 
liar  respects  the  sanctity  of  an  oath,  and  it  is  occasion- 
ally visited  in  connection  with  civil  cases,  when  the  one 
party  challenges  the  other  to  take  a  particular  oath.  A 
man  who  thinks  nothing  of  perjuring  himself  in  the 
witness-box,  and  who  might  not  much  mind  telling  a 
lie  even  with  the  Koran  on  his  head,  will  flinch  before 
the  ordeal  of  a  falsehood  in  the  presence  of  the  Dato' 

After  explaining  the  difference  between  beneficent 
spirits  and  the  spirits  of  evil,  Mr.  Blagden  continues  : 
"  Some  time  ago  one  of  these  objectionable  hantus 
(spirits  of  evil)  had  settled  down  in  a  kerayong  tree  in 
the  middle  of  this  village  of  Bukit  Senggeh,  and  used 
to  frighten  people  who  passed  that  way  in  the  dusk  ; 
so  the  Pawang  was  duly  called  upon  to  exorcise  it,  and 
under  his  superintendence  the  tree  was  cut  down,  after 
which  there  was  no  more  trouble.  But  it  is  certain 
that  it  would  have  been  excessively  dangerous  for  an 
ordinary  layman  to  do  so. 

"  This  point  may  be  illustrated  by  a  case  which  was 
reported  to  me  soon  after  it  occurred,  and  which  again 
shows  the  intimate  connection  of  spirits  with  trees. 
A  Javanese  coolie,  on  the  main  road  near  Ayer  Panas, 
cut  down  a  tree  which  was  known  to  be  occupied  by  a 
hantu.  He  was  thereupon  seized  with  what,  from 
the  description,  appears  to  have  been  an  epileptic  fit, 
and  showed  all  t,  $\f  ^aditional  symptoms  of  demoniac 

1  C.  O.  Blagden  &J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  29,  pp.  1-3. 


possession.  He  did  not  recover  till  his  friends  had 
carried  out  the  directions  of  the  spirit,  speaking  through 
the  sufferer's  mouth,  it  seems,  viz.,  to  burn  incense, 
offer  rice,  and  release  a  fowl.  After  which  the  hantu 
left  him. 

"In  many  places  there  are  trees  which  are  pretty 
generally  believed  to  be  the  abodes  of  spirits,  and  not 
one  Malay  in  ten  would  venture  to  cut  one  down, 
while  most  people  would  hardly  dare  to  go  near  one 
after  dark.  On  one  occasion  an  exceptionally  intelli- 
gent Malay,  with  whom  I  was  discussing  the  terms  on 
which  he  proposed  to  take  up  a  contract  for  clearing 
the  banks  of  a  river,  made  it  an  absolute  condition  that 
he  should  not  be  compelled  to  cut  down  a  particular 
tree  which  overhung  the  stream,  on  the  ground  that  it 
was  a  'spirit'  tree.  That  tree  had  to  be  excluded 
from  the  contract." l 

The  following  description,  by  Sir  W.  Maxwell,  of  a 
Perak  kramat  may  be  taken  as  fairly  typical  of  the 
kramat,  in  which  there  really  is  a  grave : — 

"  Rightly  or  wrongly  the  Malays  of  Larut  assign 
an  Achinese  origin  to  an  old  grave  which  was  dis- 
covered in  the  forest  some  years  ago,  and  of  which  I 
propose  to  give  a  brief  description.  It  is  situated 
about  half-way  between  the  Larut  Residency  and  the 
mining  village  of  Kamunting.  In  the  neighbourhood 
the  old  durian  trees  of  Java  betoken  the  presence  of  a 
Malay  population  at  a  date  long  prior  to  the  advent  of 
the  Chinese  miner.  The  grave  was  discovered  about 
twenty  years  ago  by  workmen  employed  by  the 
Mentri  of  Perak  to  make  the  Kamunting  road,  and 
it  excited  much  curiosity  among  the  Malays  at  the 

1  C.  O.  Blagden  in  J.R.A.S.,  S.&.,  No.  29,  pp.  4,  5. 


time.  The  Mentri  and  all  the  ladies  of  his  family 
went  on  elephants  to  see  it,  and  it  has  been  an  object 
of  much  popular  prestige  ever  since. 

"The  Malays  of  Java  were  able  from  the  village 
tradition  to  give  the  name  and  sex  of  the  occupant  of 
this  lonely  tomb,  '  Toh  Bidan  Susu  Lanjut/  whose 
name  sounds  better  in  the  original  than  in  an  English 
translation.  She  is  said  to  have  been  an  old  Achinese 
woman  of  good  family  ;  of  her  personal  history  nothing 
is  known,  but  her  claims  to  respectability  are  evinced 
by  the  carved  head  and  foot  stones  of  Achinese  work- 
manship which  adorn  her  grave,  and  her  sanctity  is 
proved  by  the  fact  that  the  stones  are  eight  feet  apart. 
It  is  a  well-known  Malay  superstition  that  the  stones 
placed  to  mark  the  graves  of  Saints  miraculously 
increase  their  relative  distance  during  the  lapse  of 
years,  and  thus  bear  mute  testimony  to  the  holiness  of 
the  person  whose  resting-place  they  mark. 

"  The  kramat  on  the  Kamunting  road  is  on  the 
spur  of  a  hill  through  which  the  roadway  is  cut.  A 
tree  overshadows  the  grave  and  is  hung  with  strips  of 
white  cloth  and  other  rags  (panji  panjt]  which  the 
devout  have  put  there.  The  direction  of  the  grave  is 
as  nearly  as  possible  due  north  and  south.  The  stones 
at  its  head  and  foot  are  of  the  same  size,  and  in  every 
respect  identical  one  with  the  other.  They  are  of  sand- 
stone, and  are  said  by  the  natives  to  have  been 
brought  from  Achin.  In  design  and  execution  they 
are  superior  to  ordinary  Malay  art,  as  will  be  seen,  I 
think,  on  reference  to  the  rubbings  of  the  carved 
surface  of  one  of  them,  which  have  been  executed  for 
me  by  the  Larut  Survey  Office,  and  which  I  have 
transmitted  to  the  Society  with  this  paper.  The 
extreme  measurements  of  the  stones  (furnished  from 


the  same  source)  are  2'  i"  x  o'  9"  x  o'  7".  They 
are  in  excellent  preservation,  and  the  carving  is  fresh 
and  sharp.  Some  Malays  profess  to  discover  in  the 
three  rows  of  vertical  direction  on  the  broadest  face  of 
the  slabs  the  Mohammedan  attestation  of  the  unity  of 
God  (La  ilaka  illa-lla)  repeated  over  and  over  again  ; 
but  I  confess  that  I  have  been  unable  to  do  so.  The 
offerings  at  a  kramat  are  generally  incense  (istangi  or 
satangi)  or  benzoin  (kaminian) ;  these  are  burned  in 
little  stands  made  of  bamboo  rods  ;  one  end  is  stuck  in 
the  ground  and  the  other  split  into  four  or  five,  and 
then  opened  out  and  plaited  with  basket  work  so  as 
to  hold  a  little  earth.  They  are  called  sangka ;  a 
Malay  will  often  vow  that  if  he  succeeds  in  some 
particular  project,  or  gets  out  of  some  difficulty  in 
which  he  may  happen  to  be  placed,  he  will  burn  three 
or  more  sangka  at  such  and  such  a  kramat.  Persons 
who  visit  a  kramat  in  times  of  distress  or  difficulty,  to 
pray  and  to  vow  offerings,  in  case  their  prayers  are 
granted,  usually  leave  behind  them  as  tokens  of  their 
vows  small  pieces  of  white  cloth,  which  are  tied  to 
the  branches  of  a  tree  or  to  sticks  planted  in  the 
ground  near  the  sacred  spot.  For  votary  purposes 
the  long-forgotten  tomb  of  Toh  Bidan  Susu  Lanjut 
enjoys  considerable  popularity  among  the  Mohamme- 
dans of  Larut ;  and  the  tree  which  overshadows  it 
has,  I  am  glad  to  say,  been  spared  the  fate  which 
awaited  the  rest  of  the  jungle  which  overhung  the 
road.  No  coolie  was  bold  enough  to  put  an  axe  to 

Mr.  George  Bellamy,  writing  in  1893,  thus  described 
the  kramat  at  Tanjong  Karang  in  the  Kuala  Selangor 
district : — 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  2,  p.  236. 


"  The  kramat  about  which  I  am  now  writing  is  a 
very  remarkable  one.  It  is  situated  on  the  extreme 
point  of  land  at  the  mouth  of  the  river  Selangor,  close 
to  where  the  new  lighthouse  has  been  erected.  A 
magnificent  kayu  ara  (a  kind  of  fig-tree)  forms  a 
prominent  feature  of  the  tanjong  (point  or  cape),  and 
at  the  base  of  this  tree,  enveloped  entirely  by  its 
roots,  is  an  oblong-shaped  space  having  the  appear- 
ance of  a  Malay  grave,  with  the  headstones  complete. 
....  To  this  sacred  spot  constant  pilgrimages  are 
made  by  the  Malays,  and  the  lower  branches  of  the 
tree  rarely  lack  those  pieces  of  white  and  yellow  cloth 
which  are  always  hung  up  as  an  indication  that  some 
devout  person  has  paid  his  vows.  The  Chinese  also 
have  great  respect  for  this  kramat,  and  have  erected 
a  sort  of  sylvan  temple  at  the  foot  of  the  tree."  Mr. 
Bellamy  tells  how  one  Raja  'Abdullah  fell  in  love 
with  a  maiden  named  Miriam,  who  disappeared  and 
was  supposed  to  have  been  taken  by  the  spirits 
(though  she  was  really  carried  off  by  an  earlier  lover 
named  Hassan).  Raja  'Abdullah  died  and  was  buried 
at  the  foot  of  the  fig-tree.  Mr.  Bellamy  concludes : 
"If  you  ever  happen  to  see  a  very  big  crocodile  at 
the  mouth  of  the  Selangor  river,  floating  listlessly 
about,  be  careful  not  to  molest  it :  it  is  but  the  buaya 
kramat,  which  shape  the  spirit  of  Raja  Abdullah 
sometimes  assumes.  When  walking  along  the  pantai 
(shore),  if  you  chance  to  meet  a  very  large  tiger  let 
him  pass  unharmed.  It  is  only  Raja  Abdullah's 
ghost,  and  in  proof  thereof  you  will  see  it  leaves 
no  footmarks  on  the  sand.  And  when  you  go 
to  see  the  new  lighthouse  at  Tanjong  Kramat, 
you  may  perhaps  come  face  to  face  with  a  very- 
old  man,  who  sadly  shakes  his  head  and  dis- 


appears.  Do  not  be  startled,  it  is  only  Raja 

In  No.  2  of  the  same  volume  of  the  Selangor 
Journal  Mr.  Bellamy  refers  to  another  kramat — that  of 
'Toh  Ketapang — which  he  appears  to  localise  in  Ulu 

It  is  by  no  means  necessary  to  ensure  the  popu- 
larity of  a  kramat  or  shrine  that  the  saint  to  whose 
memory  it  is  dedicated  should  be  a  Malay.  The 
cosmopolitan  character  of  these  shrines  is  attested  in 
the  following  note  which  I  sent  to  the  Selangor  Jour- 
nal* about  the  shrines  in  the  Ulu  Langat  (Kajang) 
district  of  Selangor  : — 

"  The  chief  kramats  in  the  district  are  '  Makam 
'Toh  Sayah '  (the  tomb  of  a  Javanese  of  high  repute) ; 
'  Makam  Said  Idris,'  at  Rekoh,  Said  Idris  being  the 
father  of  the  Penghulu  of  Cheras ;  '  Makam  'Toh 
Janggut  (a  'Kampar'  man),  on  the  road  to  Cheras; 
and  '  Makam  'Toh  Gerdu  or  Berdu,'  at  Dusun  Tua, 
Ulu  Langat.  'Toh  Berdu  was  of  Sakai  origin." 

I  have  never  yet,  however,  heard  of  any  shrine 
being  dedicated  to  a  Chinaman,  and  it  is  probable 
that  this  species  of  canonisation  is  confined  (at  least 
in  modern  times)  to  local  celebrities  professing  the 
Muhammadan  religion,  as  would  certainly  be  the  case 
of  the  Malays  and  Javanese  mentioned  in  the  fore- 
going paragraph,  and  quite  possibly  too  in  the  case  of 
the  Sakai. 

It  is  true  that  Chinese  often  worship  at  these 
shrines — just  as,  on  the  same  principle,  they  employ 
Malay  magicians  in  prospecting  for  tin  ;  but  there 
appear  to  be  certain  limits  beyond  which  they 

1  Selangor  Journal,  vol.  ii.  No.  6,  p.  90,  stqq. 
2  Ibid.  vol.  v.  No.  19,  p.  308. 


cannot  go,  as  it  was  related  to  me  when  I  was 
living  in  the  neighbourhood,  that  a  Chinaman  who 
had,  in  the  innocence  of  his  heart,  offered  at  a 
Moslem  shrine  a  piece  of  the  accursed  pork,  was 
pounced  upon  and  slain  before  he  reached  home  by 
one  of  the  tigers  which  guarded  the  shrine. 

The  shrine  of  'Toh  Kamarong  is  one  of  the  most 
celebrated  shrines  in  the  Langat  district,  the  saint's 
last  resting-place  being  guarded  by  a  white  elephant 
and  a  white  tiger,  the  latter  of  which  had  been  a  pet 
(pemainan)  of  his  during  his  lifetime.  In  this  respect 
it  is  exactly  similar  to  the  shrine  of  'Toh  Parwi  of 
Pantei  in  Sungei  Ujong,  which  is  similarly  guarded, 
both  shrines  having  been  erected  on  the  seashore,  it  is 
said,  in  the  days  when  the  sea  came  much  farther  inland 
than  it  does  at  present.  The  fame  of  'Toh  Kamarong 
filled  the  neighbourhood,  and  it  is  related  that  on 
one  occasion  an  irate  mother  exclaimed,  of  a  son  of 
hers  who  was  remarkable  for  his  vicious  habits,  "  May 
the  'Toh  Kramat  Kamarong  fly  away  with  him." 
Next  day  the  boy  disappeared,  and  all  search  proved 
fruitless,  until  three  days  later  'Toh  Kamarong 
appeared  to  her  in  a  dream,  and  informed  her  that 
he  had  carried  the  boy  off,  as  she  had  invited  him  to 
do,  and  that  if  she  were  to  look  for  his  footprints  she 
would  be  able  to  discover  them  inside  the  pad-tracks 
of  a  tiger  one  of  whose  feet  was  smaller  than  the  rest, 
and  which  was  then  haunting  the  spot.  She  did  so, 
and  discovered  her  son's  footprints  exactly  as  the 
saint  had  foretold.  This  Ghost-tiger,  which  no  doubt 
must  be  identified  with  'Toh  Kamarong's  "pet,"  used 
to  roam  the  district  when  I  was  stationed  in  the 
neighbourhood,  and  both  I  and,  I  believe,  the  then 
District  Engineer  (Mr.  Spearing),  saw  this  tiger's 


tracks,  and  can  vouch  for  the  fact  that  one  footprint  was 
smaller  than  the  rest.  This  curious  feature  is  thought 
by  the  local  Malays  at  least,  to  be  one  of  the  speci- 
ally distinctive  marks  of  a  rimau  kramat,  or  Ghost- 
tiger,  just  as  the  possession  of  one  tusk  that  is 
smaller  than  the  other  is  the  mark  of  a  Ghost- 

Closely  connected  with  the  subject  of  shrines  is  that 
of  high  places,  such  as  those  spots  where  religious 
penance  was  traditionally  practised.  One  of  these 
sacred  spots  is  said  to  have  been  situated  upon 
the  "  Mount  Ophir"  of  Malacca,  which  is  about  4000 
feet  high,  and  on  which  a  certain  legendary  Princess 
known  as  Tuan  Putri  Gunong  Ledang  is  said  to  have 
dwelt,  until  she  transferred  her  ghostly  court  to  Jugra 
Hill,  upon  the  coast  of  Selangor.2 

Such  fasting-places  are  usually,  as  in  Java,  either 
solitary  hills  or  places  which  present  some  great 
natural  peculiarity ;  even  remarkable  trees  and  rocks 
being,  as  has  already  been  pointed  out,  pressed  into 
the  service  of  this  Malay  "natural  religion." 

(c)  Nature  of  Rites 

The  main  divisions  of  the  magico- religious  cere- 
monies of  the  Malays  are  prayer,  sacrifice,  lustration, 
fasting,  divination,  and  possession. 

Prayer,  which  is  defined  by  Professor  Tylor  as  "  a 
request  made  to  a  deity  as  if  he  were  a  man,"  is  still 
in  the  unethical  stage  among  the  Malays ;  no  request 

1  Infra,  Chap.  V.  pp.  153,  163.  cat,  sometimes  as  a  young  and  beauti- 

2  The  local  Malacca  tradition  repre-  fill  girl  dressed  in  silk.     She  can  trans- 
sents  her  as  still  haunting  her  original  form    her   cat   into   a  tiger  if  people 
seat.     She  is  said  to  appear  sometimes  molest  her.    J.ft.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  24, 
in  the  shape  of  an  old  woman  with  a  pp.  165,  166  ;    No.  32,  pp.  213,  214. 


for  anything  but  personal  advantages  of  a  material 
character  being  ever,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  preferred 
by  the  worshipper.  The  efficacy  of  prayer  is,  how- 
ever, often  supposed  to  be  enhanced  by  repetition. 

"  As  prayer  is  a  request  made  to  a  deity  as  if  he 
were  a  man,  so  sacrifice  is  a  gift  made  to  a  deity  as 

if  he  were  a  man The  ruder  conception 

that  the  deity  takes  and  values  the  offering  for  itself, 
gives  place,  on  the  one  hand,  to  the  idea  of  mere 
homage  as  expressed  by  a  gift,  and,  on  the  other,  to 
the  negative  view  that  the  virtue  lies  in  the  worshipper 
depriving  himself  of  something  prized." l 

A  general  survey  of  the  charms  and  ceremonies 
brought  together  in  this  volume  will,  I  think,  be  likely 
to  establish  the  view  that  the  Malays  (in  accordance 
with  the  reported  practice  of  many  other  races)  prob- 
ably commenced  with  the  idea  of  sacrifice  as  a 
simple  gift,  and  therefrom  developed  first  the  idea 
of  ceremonial  homage,  and  later  the  idea  of  sacrifice 
as  an  act  of  abnegation.  Evidences  of  the  original 
gift-theory  chiefly  survive  in  the  language  of  charms, 
in  which  the  deity  appealed  to  is  repeatedly  invited 
to  eat  and  drink  of  the  offerings  placed  before  him, 
as  a  master  may  be  invited  to  eat  by  his  servants. 
The  intermediate  stage  between  the  gift  and  homage 
theories  is  marked  by  an  extensive  use  of  "sub- 
stitutes," and  of  the  sacrifice  of  a  part  or  parts  for 
the  whole.  Thus  we  even  find  the  dough  model 
of  a  human  being  actually  called  "the  substitute" 
(tukar  ganti],  and  offered  up  to  the  spirits  upon  the 
sacrificial  tray ;  in  the  same  sense  are  the  significant 
directions  of  a  magician,  that  "  if  the  spirit  craves  a 
human  victim  a  cock  may  be  substituted,"  and  the 

1  Tylor,  Prim.  Cult.  vol.  ii.  p.  340. 


custom  of  hunters  who,  when  they  have  killed  a  deer, 
leave  behind  them  in  the  forest  small  portions  of  each 
of  the  more  important  members  of  the  deer's  anatomy, 
as  "representatives"  of  the  entire  carcase.  In  this  last 
case  the  usual  "  ritualistic  change  may  be  traced  from 
practical  reality  to  formal  ceremony."  "  The  originally 
valuable  offering  is  compromised  for  a  smaller  tribute 
or  a  cheaper  substitute,  dwindling  at  last  to  a  mere 
trifling  token  or  symbol." l 

This  homage -theory  will,  I  believe,  be  found  to 
cover  by  far  the  greater  bulk  of  the  sacrifices  usually 
offered  by  Malays,  and  the  idea  of  abnegation  appears 
to  be  practically  confined  to  votal  ceremonies  or  vows 
(niat\  in  which  the  nature  and  extent  of  the  offering 
are  not  regulated  by  custom,  but  depend  entirely  upon 
the  wealth  or  caprice  of  the  worshipper,  there  being 
merely  a  tacit  understanding  that  he  shall  sacrifice 
something  which  is  of  more  than  nominal  value  to 

Of  the  manner  in  which  offerings  are  supposed  to 
be  received  by  the  deity  to  whom  they  are  offered 
it  is  difficult  to  obtain  very  much  evidence.  I  have, 
however,  frequently  questioned  Malays  upon  this  sub- 
ject, and  on  the  whole  think  it  can  very  safely  be  said 
that  the  deity  is  not  supposed  to  touch  the  solid  or 
material  part  of  the  offering,  but  only  the  essential  part, 
whether  it  be  "  life,  savour,  essence,  quality  "  or  even 
the  "soul." 

It  will  perhaps  be  advisable,  in  order  to  avoid  repe- 
tition, to  describe  a  few  of  the  special  and  distinctive 
sub-rites  which  form  part  of  many  of  the  more  import- 
ant ceremonies,  such  as  (in  particular),  rites  performed 
at  shrines,  the  rite  of  burning  incense,  the  scattering 

1  Tylor,  Prim.  Cult.  vol.  ii.  p.  341. 


of  (or  banqueting  upon)  sacrificial  rice,  and  the  appli- 
cation of  the  "Neutralising"  Rice-paste  (tepong 

Of  the  rites  performed  at  shrines,  Mr.  Blagden 
says  :  "  The  worship  there,  as  with  most  other  kramats, 
consists  of  the  burning  of  incense,  the  offering  of  nasi 
kunyet  (yellow  rice),  and  the  killing  of  goats  ;  but  I  also 
noticed  a  number  of  live  pigeons  there  which  illustrate 
the  practice,  common  in  Buddhist  countries,  of  releas- 
ing an  animal  in  order  to  gain  'merit'  thereby."  At 
a  shrine  on  the  Langat  river  I  have  seen  fowls  which 
had  (I  was  told)  been  similarly  released. 

Mr.  Blagden's  remarks  apply  with  equal  force  to 
the  services  performed  at  the  shrines  of  Selangor,  and 
I  believe  also  of  other  States.  It  should,  however, 
I  think,  be  pointed  out  that  the  nasi  kunyit  (yellow 
rice)  is,  usually  at  all  events,  eaten  by  those  who  take 
part  in  the  service.  At  a  ceremony  which  was  held  on 
one  occasion  after  my  recovery  from  sickness,  and  in 
which,  by  request,  I  took  part,1  incense  was  burnt, 
and  Muhammadan  prayers  chanted,  after  which 
the  usual  strip  of  white  cloth  (five  cubits  in  length) 
was  laid  upon  the  saint's  grave  (the  saint  being  the 
father  of  the  present  Sultan  of  Selangor),  and  the  party 
then  adjourned  to  a  shelter  some  twenty  or  thirty  yards 
lower  down  the  hill,  where,  first  the  men,  and  then  the 
women  and  children,  partook  of  the  flesh  of  the 
slaughtered  goat  and  the  saffron-stained  rice  (pulut}. 
After  the  meal  the  Bilal  (mosque  attendant,  who  was 
present  with  the  Malay  headman  and  the  local  priest 
of  the  mosque),  returned  to  the  tomb,  and  making 
obeisance,  recited  a  Muhammadan  prayer,  craving  per- 

1    Vide  supra,  Chap.  II.  p.  42. 


mission  to  take  the  cloth  back  for  his  own  use,  which 
he  presently  did.  These  Bilals  are  needy  men  and 
live  upon  the  alms  of  the  devout,  so  I  suppose  he 
thought  there  was  no  reason  why  the  saint  should  not 
contribute  something  to  his  support. 

The  burning  of  incense  is  one  of  the  very  simplest, 
and  hence  commonest,  forms  of  burnt  sacrifice. 
Some  magicians  say  that  it  should  be  accompanied  by 
an  invocation  addressed  to  the  Spirit  of  Incense,  which 
should  be  besought,  as  in  the  example  quoted  below,  to 
"  pervade  the  seven  tiers  of  earth  and  sky  respectively." 
It  would  appear  that  the  intention  of  the  worshipper  is 
to  ensure  that  his  "  sacrifice  of  sweet  savour "  should 
reach  the  nostrils  of  the  gods  and  help  to  propitiate 
them,  wherever  they  may  be,  by  means  of  a  foretaste 
of  offerings  to  follow.  This  invocation,  however,  is 
not  unfrequently  omitted,  or  at  least  slurred  over  by 
the  worshipper,  in  spite  of  the  contention  of  the  magi- 
cians who  use  it,  that  "  without  it  the  spell  merely 
rises  like  smoke  which  is  blown  away  by  the  wind." 
The  following  is  one  form  of  the  invocation  in 
question  : — 

Zabur1  Hijau  is  your  name,  O  Incense, 

Zabur  Bajang  the  name  of  your  Mother, 

Zabur  Puteh  the  name  of  your  Fumes, 

Scales  from  the  person  of  God's  Apostle  2  were  your  Origin. 

May  you  fumigate  the  Seven  Tiers  of  the  Earth, 

May  you  fumigate  the  Seven  Tiers  of  the  Sky, 

And  serve  as  a  summons  to  all  Spirits,  to  those  which  have  magic 

powers,  and  those  which  have  become  Saints  of  God, 
The  Spirits  of  God's  elect,  who  dwell  in  the  Halo  of  the  Sun, 
And  whose  resort  is  the  "  Ka'bah  "  of  God, 
At  even  and  morn,  by  night  and  day ; 

1  Zabur  is  the  Arabic  for  "psalm,"  *  Another  account  derives  the  origin 

especially   for  the    Psalms  of  David  ;  of  incense  from  the  eye  gum   of   the 

but   the  connection  here   is  not  very  Prophet  Muhammad's  eyes, 


And  serve  as  a  summons  to  the  Elect  of  God, 

Who  dwell  at  the  Gate  of  the  Spaces  of  Heaven, 

And  whose  resort  is  the  White  Diamond 

In  the  Interior  of  Egypt,  at  morn  and  eve, 

Who  know  (how)  to  make  the  dead  branch  live, 

And  the  withered  blossom  unfold  its  petals, 

And  to  perform  the  word  of  God  ; 

By  the  grace  of  (the  creed)  "  There  is  no  god  but  God,"  etc. 

The  direction  taken  by  the  fumes  of  the  incense  is 
observed  and  noted  for  the  purpose  of  divination  ; 
this  feature  of  the  rite  will  be  noticed  under  the 
heading  of  Medicine.1 

Another  form  of  sacrifice  consists  in  the  scattering 
of  rice.  The  sacrificial  rice  (Oryza  saliva)  used  in  the 
ceremonies  is  always  of  the  following  kinds  :  firstly, 
parched  rice  (d'ras  bertifi) ;  secondly,  washed  rice 
(Uras  basok)  ;  thirdly,  saffron-stained  rice  (Uras 
kunyit,  i.e.  rice  stained  with  turmeric) ; 2  and,  finally, 
a  special  kind  of  glutinous  rice  called  pulut  (Oryza 
glutinosa),  which  is  also  very  generally  used  for  sacri- 
ficial banquets. 

Of  these,  the  parched  rice  is  generally  used  for 
strewing  the  bottom  of  the  sacrificial  tray  (anckak) 
when  the  framework  has  been  covered  with  banana 
leaves,  but  the  offerings  have  not  yet  been  deposited 
within  it. 

The  washed  and  saffron  rice  are  generally  used 
for  scattering  either  over  the  persons  to  be  benefited 
by  the  ceremony,  or  else  upon  the  ground  or  house- 

With  reference  to  the  selection  of  rice  for  this 
purpose,  it  has  been  suggested  that  the  rice  is  intended 
to  attract  what  may  be  called  the  "  bird-soul "  (i.e.  the 
soul  of  man  conceived  as  a  bird)  to  the  spot,  or  to 

1  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  p.  410,  infra.          with   other   colours,    e.g.    red,    green, 

2  This  rice  is   occasionally   stained       black  (vide  pp.  416,  421,  infra.) 


keep  it  from  straying  at  a  particularly  dangerous 
moment  in  the  life  of  its  owner. 

The  pulut  or  glutinous  rice  is  the  kind  of  rice 
generally  used  for  sacrificial  banquets,  e.g.  for  banquets 
at  "high  places,"  etc. 

Lustration  is  generally  accomplished  either  by 
means  of  fire  or  of  water.  The  best  examples  of  the 
former  are  perhaps  the  fumigation  of  infants,  and 
the  api  saleian  or  purificatory  fire,  over  which 
women  are  half-roasted  when  a  birth  has  taken  place, 
but  these  being  special  and  distinctive  ceremonies, 
will  be  described  with  others  of  the  same  nature  in 
Chapter  VI. 

One  of  the  forms  of  lustration  by  water,  however, 
appears  rather  to  take  the  place  of  a  sub-rite,  forming 
an  integral  portion  of  a  large  class  of  ceremonies, 
such  as  those  relating  to  Building,  Fishing,  Agriculture, 
Marriage,  and  so  forth.  Hence  it  will  be  necessary  to 
give  a  general  sketch  of  its  leading  features  in  the 
present  context. 

The  ceremony  of  lustration  by  water,  when  it  takes 
the  form  of  the  sub-rite  referred  to,  is  called  "  Tepong 
Tawar,"  which  properly  means  "  the  Neutralising 
Rice-flour  (Water),"  "  neutralising  "  being  used  almost 
in  a  chemical  sense,  i.e.  in  the  sense  of  "  sterilising  " 
the  active  element  of  poisons,  or  of  destroying  the 
active  potentialities  of  evil  spirits. 

The  rite  itself  consists  in  the  application1  of  a  thin 
paste  made  by  mixing  rice-flour  with  water :  this  is 
taken  up  in  a  brush  or  "bouquet"  of  leaves  and 
applied  to  the  objects  which  the  "  neutralisation "  is 
intended  to  protect  or  neutralise,  whether  they  be  the 

1  Sometimes  it  is  "  dabbed  "  on  the      as  to  spread  as  evenly  as  possible,  more 
object,  sometimes  "painted"  on  it  so       rarely  "sprinkled." 


posts  of  a  house,  the  projecting  ends  of  a  boat's  ribs 
\tajok  p'rahu),  the  seaward  posts  of  fishing-stakes 
{puchi  kelong),  or  the  forehead  and  back  of  the  hands 
of  the  bride  and  bridegroom. 

The  brush  must  be  first  fumigated  with  incense, 
then  dipped  into  the  bowl  which  contains  the  rice- 
water,  and  shaken  out  almost  dry,  for  if  the  water  runs 
down  the  object  to  which  it  is  applied  it  is  held  to 
"portend  tears,"  whereas  if  it  spreads  equally  all 
round  (benckar)  it  is  lucky.  The  composition  of  the 
brush,  which  is  considered  to  be  of  the  highest 
importance,  appears  to  vary,  but  only  within  certain 
limits.  It  almost  invariably,  in  Selangor,  consists  of 
a  selection  of  leaves  from  the  following  plants,  which 
are  made  up  in  small  bouquets  of  five,  seven,  or  nine 
leaves  each,  and  bound  round  with  ribu-ribu  (a  kind 
of  small  creeper),  or  a  string  of  shredded  tree  bark 
(daun  trap}. 

The  following  is  a  list  of  the  leaves  generally 
used : — 

1 .  Leaves  of  the  grass  called  sambau  dara,  which 
is  said  to  be  the  symbol  of  a  "  settled  soul "  ('alamat 
menetapkan  semangat},  and  which  hence  always  forms 
the  core  of  the  bouquet.1 

2.  The  leaves  of  the  selaguri,  which  appears  to  be 
"a  shrub  or  small  tree  with  yellow  flowers   (Clero- 
dendron    disparifolium,    Bl.,     Verbenaceae ;    or    Sida 
rkombifolia,  L.,   Malvaceae,  a  common  small  shrub  in 
open  country),"2  which  is  described  as  one  of  the  first 
of  shrubs  (kayu  asal),  and   is  said   to   be  used  as  a 
"  reminder  of  origin  "  (peringatan  asal). 

1  It    is    not    unfrequently    used     in  harvest  are  spread  out   to  dry,  and  to 

medicinal  and  other  ceremonies,  e.g.  the  centre  of  the  long  wooden  pestle 

it  is  tied  to  each  corner  of  the  new  mat  which  is  used  for  husking  them, 
on  which  the  first-fruits  of  the  rice-  "  J.R.A.S.,  S.JS.,  No.  30,  p.  240. 


3.  The  leaves  of  the  pulut-pulut  (the  exact  identity 
of  which   I  have  not  yet  ascertained,  but  which  may 
be  the  Urena  lobata,  L.,  one  of  the  Malvaceae),  which 
is   said   to   be   used   for    the    same   purpose   as   the 

4.  The  leaves  of  \htgandarusa  (Insticia  gandarusa, 
L.,  Acanthaceae),  a  plant  described  as  "  often  cultivated 
and  half-wild — a  shrub  used  in  medicine." 

The  selection  of  this  plant  is  said  to  be  due  to  its 
reputation  for  scaring  demons  ('alamat  menghalaukan 
kantu).  So  great  is  its  efficacy  supposed  to  be,  that 
people  who  have  to  go  out  when  rain  is  falling  and 
the  sun  shining  simultaneously — a  most  dangerous 
time  to  be  abroad,  in  Malay  estimation, — put  a  sprig  of 
the  gandarusa  in  their  belts. 

5.  The  leaves  of  the  gandasuli  (which  I  have  not 
yet  been  able  to  identify,  no  such  name  appearing  in 
Ridley's  plant-list,  but  which  I  believe  to  be  a  water-side 
plant  which  I  have  seen,  with  a  white  and  powerfully 
fragrant  flower).1     It  is  considered  to  be  a  powerful 
charm   against    noxious    birth  -  spirits,    such    as    the 

6.  The  leaves  of  the  sapanggil  (which  is  not  yet 

7.  The   leaves   of  the    lenjuang  merah,    or  "  the 
common    red   dracaena"     (Cor dy line    terminalis,    var. 
ferrea,  Liliaceae).2    This  shrub  is  planted  in  graveyards, 

and  occasionally  at  the  four  corners  of  the  house,  to 
drive  away  ghosts  and  demons. 

8.  The    leaves    of   the   sapenoh   (unidentified),    a 
plant  with   big  round  leaves,  which  is  always  placed 
outside  the  rest  of  the  leaves  in  the  bunch. 

1  According  to  Favre  and  v.  d.  Wall,  Hedychititn  coronarium. 
2  J.R.A.S.,  S.3.,  No.  30,  p.  158. 



9.  To  the  above  list  may  be  perhaps  added  the 
satawar,  sitawar  or  tawar-tawar  (Costus  speciosus,  L., 
Scitamineae,  and  Forrestia,  spp.  Commelinacese) ;  and 

10.  The   satebal    (Fagrtza    racemosa,    Jack.,    Lo- 

Leaves  of  the  foregoing  plants  and  shrubs  are 
made  up,  as  has  been  said,  in  small  sets  or  combina- 
tions of  five,  seven,  or  even  perhaps  of  nine  leaves 
a  piece.  These  combinations  are  said  to  differ 
according  to  the  object  to  which  the  rice-water  is  to 
be  applied.  It  is  extremely  unlikely,  however,  that 
all  magicians  should  make  the  same  selections  even 
for  the  same  objects — rather  would  they  be  likely  to 
make  use  of  such  leaves  on  the  list  as  happen  to  be 
most  readily  available.  Still,  however,  as  the  only 
example  of  such  differentiation  which  I  have  yet  been 
able  to  obtain,  I  will  give  the  details  of  three  separate 
and  distinctive  combinations,  which  were  described  to 
me  by  a  Selangor  magician  : — 

( i )  For  a  wedding  ceremony 

Igandarusa         \ 
sSlaguri  tied  with  the 

sapanggil  |-    creeper 

iSnjuang  merah  I     ribu-ribu. 

sambau  dara 

tied     round 
with  a  string 
of  shredded 

ISnjuang  merah 

(3)  For  the  ceremony  of  taking   I 

the  rice-soul  I       ,          •/ 

I  sapanggil 

^  sapSnok 

tied  with 

Further  inquiry  and  the  collection  of  additional 
material  will  no  doubt  help  to  elucidate  the  general 
principles  on  which  such  selections  are  made. 


Short  rhyming  charms  are  very  often  used  as 
accompaniments  of  the  rite  of  rice-water,  but  appear 
to  be  seldom  if  ever  repeated  aloud.  The  following  is  a 
specimen,  and  others  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix  :l — 

"  Neutralising  Rice-paste,  true  Rice-paste, 
And,  thirdly,  Rice-paste  of  Kadangsa  ! 
Keep  me  from  sickness,  keep  me  from  death, 
Keep  me  from  injury  and  ruin." 

Other  not  less  important  developments  of  the  idea 
of  lustration  by  water  are  to  be  found  in  such  cere- 
monies as  the  bathing  of  mother  and  child  after  a 
birth  and  the  washing  of  the  floor  (basoh  lantei]  upon 
similar  occasions,  the  bathing  of  the  sick,  of  bride  and 
bridegroom  at  weddings,  of  corpses  (meruang)?  and 
the  annual  bathing  expeditions  (mandi  Safar],  which 
are  supposed  to  purify  the  persons  of  the  bathers  and 
to  protect  them  from  evil  (tolak  bala). 

Fasting,  or  the  performance  of  religious  penance, 
which  is  now  but  seldom  practised,  would  appear  to 
have  been  only  undertaken  in  former  days  with  a 
definite  object  in  view,  such  as  the  production  of  the 
state  of  mental  exaltation  which  induces  ecstatic  visions, 
the  acquisition  of  supernatural  powers  (sakti},  and  so 

The  fast  always  took  place,  of  course,  in  a  solitary 
spot,  and  not  unfrequently  upon  the  top  of  some  high 
and  solitary  hill  such  as  Mount  Ophir  (Gunong  Led- 
ang),  on  the  borders  of  Malacca  territory.  Frequently, 
however,  much  lower  hills,  or  even  plains  which  pos- 
sessed some  remarkable  rock  or  tree,  would  be  selected 
for  the  purpose. 

Such  fasting,  however,  did  not,  as  sometimes  with 

1  Vide  App.  xiii.,  xxxvi.,  xxxvii.,  cli.,  etc. 

2  Vide  Birth,  Marriage,  Funerals,  Medicine. 



us,  convey  to  the  Malays  the  idea  of  complete  abstin- 
ence, as  the  magicians  informed  me  that  a  small  modi- 
cum of  rice  contained  in  a  ketupat  (which  is  a  small 
diamond-shaped  rice-receptacle  made  of  plaited  cocoa- 
nut  leaf)  was  the  daily  "  allowance  "  of  any  one  who  was 
fasting.  The  result  was  that  fasts  might  be  almost 
indefinitely  prolonged,  and  the  thrice-seven-days'  fast 
of 'Che  Utus  upon  Jugra  Hill,  on  the  Selangor  coast,1 
is  still  one  of  the  traditions  of  that  neighbourhood, 
whilst  in  Malay  romances  and  in  Malay  tradition  this 
form  of  religious  penance  is  frequently  represented  as 
continuing  for  years. 

Finally,  I  would  draw  attention  to  the  strong  vein 
of  Sympathetic  Magic  or  "  make  believe  "  which  runs 
through  and  leavens  the  whole  system  of  Malay  super- 
stition. The  root-idea  of  this  form  of  magic  has  been 
said  to  be  the  principle  that  "  cause  follows  from  effect." 

"  One  of  the  principles  of  sympathetic  magic  is  that 
any  effect  may  be  produced  by  imitating  it.  ...  If  it 
is  wished  to  kill  a  person,  an  image  of  him  is  made 
and  then  destroyed  ;  and  it  is  believed  that  through  a 
certain  physical  sympathy  between  the  person  and  his 
image,  the  man  feels  the  injuries  done  to  the  image  as 
if  they  were  done  to  his  own  body,  and  that  when  it  is 
destroyed  he  must  simultaneously  perish."5 

The  principle  thus  described  is  perhaps  the  most 
important  of  all  those  which  underlie  the  "  Black  Art " 
of  the  Malays. 

1  It  was  on  Jugra  Hill,  according  to  2  Frazer,  Golden  Bough,  vol.  i.  pp. 

tradition,  that  the  Princess  of  Malacca       9-12. 
fasted  to  obtain  eternal  youth. 



(a)  Gods 

A  CAREFUL  investigation  of  the  magic  rites  and  charms 
used  by  a  nation  which  has  changed  its  religion  will 
not  unfrequently  show,  that  what  is  generally  called 
witchcraft  is  merely  the  debris  of  the  older  ritual,  con- 
demned by  the  priests  of  the  newer  faith,  but  yet 
stubbornly,  though  secretly,  persisting,  through  the 
unconquerable  religious  conservatism  of  the  mass  of 
the  people. 

"  There  is  nothing  that  clings  longer  to  a  race  than 
the  religious  faith  in  which  it  has  been  nurtured. 
Indeed,  it  is  impossible  for  any  mind  that  is  not 
thoroughly  scientific  to  cast  off  entirely  the  religious 
forms  of  thought  in  which  it  has  grown  to  maturity. 
Hence  in  every  people  that  has  received  the  impression 
of  foreign  beliefs,  we  find  that  the  latter  do  not  expel 
and  supersede  the  older  religion,  but  are  engrafted  on 
it,  blent  with  it,  or  overlie  it.  Observances  are  more 
easily  abandoned  than  ideas,  and  even  when  all  the 
external  forms  of  the  alien  faith  have  been  put  on,  and 
few  vestiges  of  the  indigenous  one  remain,  the  latter 
still  retains  its  vitality  in  the  mind,  and  powerfully 
colours  or  corrupts  the  former.  The  actual  religion  of 


a  people  is  thus  of  great  ethnographic  interest,  and 
demands  a  minute  and  searching  observation.  No 
other  facts  relating  to  rude  tribes  are  more  difficult  of 
ascertainment,  or  more  often  elude  inquiry." * 

"  The  general  principle  stated  by  Logan  in  the 
passage  just  quoted  receives  remarkable  illustration 
from  a  close  investigation  of  the  folk-lore  and  super- 
stitious beliefs  of  the  Malays.  Two  successive  religious 
changes  have  taken  place  among  them,  and  when  we 
have  succeeded  in  identifying  the  vestiges  of  Brahman- 
ism  which  underlie  the  external  forms  of  the  faith  of 
Muhammad,  long  established  in  all  Malay  kingdoms, 
we  are  only  half-way  through  our  task. 

"  There  yet  remain  the  powerful  influences  of  the 
still  earlier  indigenous  faith  to  be  noted  and  accounted 
for.  Just  as  the  Buddhists  of  Ceylon  turn  in  times  of 
sickness  and  danger,  not  to  the  consolations  offered  by 
the  creed  of  Buddha,  but  to  the  propitiation  of  the 
demons  feared  and  reverenced  by  their  early  pro- 
genitors, and  just  as  the  Burmese  and  Talaings,  though 
Buddhists,  retain  in  full  force  the  whole  of  the  Nat 
superstition,  so  among  the  Malays,  in  spite  of  centuries 
which  have  passed  since  the  establishment  of  an  alien 
worship,  the  Muhammadan  peasant  may  be  found 
invoking  the  protection  of  Hindu  gods  against  the 
spirits  of  evil  with  which  his  primitive  faith  has  peopled 
all  natural  objects."2 

"  What  was  the  faith  of  Malaya  seven  hundred  years 
ago  it  is  hard  to  say,  but  there  is  a  certain  amount  of 
evidence  to  lead  to  the  belief  that  it  was  a  form  of 
Brahmanism,  and  that,  no  doubt,  had  succeeded  the 
original  spirit  worship."3 

1  Journal of  the  Indian  Archipelago,       2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  pp.  II,  12. 
vol.  iv.  p.  573.  3  Swettenham,  Malay  Sketches,  p.  192. 


The  evidence  of  folk-lore,  taken  in  conjunc- 
tion with  that  supplied  by  charm -books  and 
romances,  goes  to  show  that  the  greater  gods  of  the 
Malay  Pantheon,  though  modified  in  some  respects 
by  Malay  ideas,  were  really  borrowed  Hindu  divinities, 
and  that  only  the  lesser  gods  and  spirits  are  native  to 
the  Malay  religious  system.  It  is  true  that  some  of 
these  native  gods  can  be  with  more  or  less  distinctness 
identified  with  the  great  powers  of  nature  :  the  King  of 
the  Winds  (Raja  Angin)  for  instance  ;  "  Mambang  Tali 
Harus,"  or  the  god  of  mid-currents  (the  Malay  Nep- 
tune) ;  the  gods  of  thunder  and  lightning,  of  the  celes- 
tial bodies,  etc.  ;  but  none  of  them  appear  to  have  the 
status  of  the  chief  gods  of  the  Hindu  system,  and  both 
by  land  and  water  the  terrible  Shiva  ("  Batara  Guru  " 
or  "Kala")  is  supreme.  Yet  each  department  of 
nature,  however  small,  has  its  own  particular  godling 
or  spirit  who  requires  propitiation,  and  influences  for 
good  or  evil  every  human  action.  Only  the  moral 
element  is  wanting  to  the  divine  hegemony  —  the 
"cockeyed,"  limping  substitute  which  does  duty  for 
it  reflecting  only  too  truthfully  the  character  of  the 
people  with  whom  it  passes  as  divine. 

I  will  first  take,  in  detail,  the  gods  of  Hindu  origin. 
"Batara  (or  Bgtara)  Guru"  is  "the  name  by  which 
Siva  is  known  to  his  worshippers,  who  constitute  the 
vast  majority  of  the  Balinese,  and  who  probably  con- 
stituted the  bulk  of  the  old  Javanese." 1 

In  the  magic  of  the  Peninsular  Malays  we  find 
Vishnu  the  Preserver,  Brahma  the  Creator,  Batara 
Guru,  Kala,  and  S'ri  simultaneously  appealed  to  by  the 
Malay  magician  ;  and  though  it  would,  perhaps,  be  rash, 

1  Mr.  R.  J.  Wilkinson  mJ.R.A.S.,  S.B.t  No.  30,  p.  308. 




(as  Mr.  Wilkinson  says),  to  infer  solely  from  Malay 
romances  or  Malay  theatrical  invocations  (many  of 
which  owe  much  to  Javanese  influence),  that  Hinduism 
was  the  more  ancient  religion  of  the  Malays,  there 
is  plenty  of  other  evidence  to  prove  that  the  "  Batara 
Guru  "  of  the  Malays  (no  less  than  the  Batara  Guru  of 
Bali  and  Java)  is  none  other  than  the  recognised  father 
of  the  Hindu  Trinity.1 

Of  the  greater  deities  or  gods,  Batara  Guru  is 
unquestionably  the  greatest.  "In  the  Hikayat  Sang 
Samba  (the  Malay  version  of  the  Bhaumakavya), 
Batara  Guru  appears  as  a  supreme  God,  with  Brahma 
and  Vishnu  as  subordinate  deities.  It  is  Batara  Guru 
who  alone  has  the  water  of  life  (ayer  utama  (atama) 
jiwa]  which  brings  the  slaughtered  heroes  to  life."  : 

So  to  this  day  the  Malay  magician  declares  that 
'Toh  Batara  Guru  (under  any  one  of  the  many  corrup- 
tions which  his  name  now  bears 3)  was  "  the  all-powerful 

1  The  following  are  the  deities  most 
usually  inscribed  in  the  "magic  square" 
of  five  :    I .  Kala  (black),  which  is  an 
epithet  of  Shiva  ;  2.  Maheswara,  which 
means  Great  Lord,  an  epithet  of  Shiva  ; 
3.    Vishnu;  4.  Brahma;  5.  S'ri  (the 
wife  of  Vishnu) ;  or  else  the  names  are 
mentioned  in  this  order  :   I.  Brahma  ; 
2.   Vishnu  ;  3.  Maheswara  (Shiva) ;  4. 
S'ri  ;  5.  Kala.     Kali,  Durga,  or  Gauri, 
is  the  wife  of  Shiva  ;  Sarasvati  is  the 
wife  of  Brahma.    See  inf.  p.  545,  seqq. 
In  the  magic  word  Aum  (OM):  A  = 
Vishnu,  U  =  Shiva,  M  =  Brahma. 

2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  30,  p.  309. 
This  is  the  water  of  life  called  Amrita, 
to  obtain  which,  by  churning  the  ocean, 
Vishnu  assumed  one  of  his  avatars — 
that  of  the  tortoise. 

3  Cp.    Crawfurd,  Hist,   of  the  Ind. 
Archipelago,  vol.  ii.  p.   219.      "From 
some  of  the  usual   epithets    bestowed 
upon  Siwa  by  the  pagan  Javanese,  and 
still  familiar  to  their  posterity,  the  pre- 
eminence of  this  deity  is  clearly  demon- 

strated. .  .  .  He  is  the  same  personage 
who  acts  so  distinguished  a  part  in  the 
machinery  of  Malayan  and  Javanese 
romances,  under  the  appellation  of  Guru, 
or  the  instructor,  prefixing  to  it  the  word 
Batara,  a  corruption  of  Avatara,  both 
in  sense  and  orthography,  for  with  the 
Indian  islanders  that  word  is  not  used 
as  with  the  genuine  Hindus,  to  express 
the  incarnation  of  a  god,  but  as  an 
appellation  expressing  any  deity  ;  nay, 
as  if  conferring  an  apotheosis  upon  their 
princes,  it  has  been  sometimes  prefixed 
to  the  names  of  some  of  the  most  cele- 
brated of  their  ancient  kings.  When 
Siwa  appears  in  this  character,  in  the 
romances  of  the  Indian  islanders,  he  is 
painted  as  a  powerful,  mischievous,  and 
malignant  tyrant — a  description  suffici- 
ently consonant  to  his  character  of 
Destroyer  in  the  Hindu  triad " ;  and, 
again,  "ywang  is  a  Javanese  word 
used  in  the  same  sense  as  batara.  .  .  . 
Usually  the  obsolete  relative  pronoun 
sang,  which  has  the  sense,  in  this  case, 


spirit  who  held  the  place  of  Allah  before  the  advent 
of  Muhammadanism,  a  spirit  so  powerful  that  he  could 
restore  the  dead  to  life ;  and  to  him  all  prayers  were 

Mr.  Wilkinson,  in  the  article  from  which  we  have 
already  quoted,  deals  with  another  point  of  interest, 
the  expression  sang-yang,  or  batara,  which  is  pre- 
fixed to  guru.  After  pointing  out  that  yang  in 
this  case  is  not  the  ordinary  Malay  pronoun  (yang, 
who),  but  an  old  word  meaning  a  "deity,"  he 
remarks,  that  so  far  as  he  has  been  able  to  discover, 
it  is  only  used  of  the  greater  Hindu  divinities,  and 
not  of  inferior  deities  or  demi-gods.  Thus  we  find 
it  applied  to  Shiva  and  Vishnu,  but  never  to  the 
monkey -god  Hanuman,  or  a  deity  of  secondary 
importance  like  Dermadewa.  Such  inferior  divinities 
have  only  the  lesser  honorific  "  sang "  prefixed  to 
their  names,  and  in  this  respect  fare  no  better  than 
mere  mortals  (such  as  Sang  Sapurba  and  Sang  Ran- 
juna  Tapa)  and  animals  (such  as,  in  fables,  Sang 
Kanchil,  Mr.  Mousedeer ;  and  Sang  Tikus,  Mr. 

"  The  expression  batara  is  also  limited  to  the 
greater  Hindu  divinities  (except  when  used  as  a 
royal  title),  e.g.  Batara  Guru,  Batara  Kala,  Batara 
Indra,  Batara  Bisnu,  etc.  Thus  the  expressions 
sang-yang  and  batara  are  fairly  coincident  in  their 
application.1  But  there  are  a  few  deities  of  whom 

of  a  definite  article,  is  placed  before  it.  Malays,    becomes    "yang,"   sangyang 

Thus  sangywang  guru  is  the  same  as  being  also  found. 

batara  guru.  ...   It  is  probably  the  Another  (and  probably  better)  ety- 

same  word  also  which  forms  the  last  mology  of  batara  is  given  by  Favre  and 

part  of  a  word  in  extensive  use,  sam-  Wilken,  viz.  Sanskr.  bhattara,  "lord." 

bahayang,  'worship  or  adoration.'" —  *  To  these  should  perhaps  be  added 

Crawfurd,  Mai.   Grammar,  p.  cxcviii.  dewa,   mambang  (?),   and  sa-raja  (or 

To    this    I    may   add   that   the    form  sang  raja),    if    Mr.    Wilkinson's    ex- 

ywang,  when  used  by  the  Peninsular  planation   of   this   last   expression   be 


the  honorific  sang-yang  is  used,  but  not  batara,  e.g. 
sang-yang tunggal,  'the  only  God,'  sang-yang sokma,  etc. 

"  Thus  batara  would  seem  to  be  limited  in  use  to 
the  actual  names  of  Hindu  deities  as  distinct  from 
epithets  describing  those  deities.  "Batara  Guru" 
would  seem  to  be  an  exception — the  only  one — to 
this  rule,  and  to  point  to  the  fact  that  the  original 
meaning  of  guru  had  been  lost  sight  of,  and  that  the 
expression  had  come  to  be  regarded  only  as  a  proper 

Occasionally,  as  is  only  to  be  expected,  the 
Malays  get  mixed  in  their  mythology,  and  of  this 
Mr.  Wilkinson  gives  two  examples,  one  of  the  iden- 
tification of  Batara  Guru  (Shiva)  with  Brahma  (Berah- 
mana),  and  another  of  the  drawing  of  a  distinction 
between  "Guru"  (Shiva)  and  "  Mahadewa,"  which 
latter  is  only  another  name  for  the  same  divinity. 

Such  slips  are  inevitable  among  an  illiterate  people, 
and  should  always  be  criticised  by  comparison  with 
the  original  Hindu  tenets,  from  which  these  ideas 
may  be  presumed  to  have  proceeded. 

taken   as  correct.      And    in   any  case  god    of  mid-currents,   has    even    been 

its     use    in    combination    with    guru  explained  as  referring  to  Batara  Guru 

appears    to    warrant    its    classification  (Shiva).     This,  however,  is  no  doubt 

with  the  titles  applied  to  the  greater  an  instance  of  confusion,  as  it  generally 

deities.      It    is    also,    however,    used,  appears  to  be  used  with  the  "colour" 

like     sang,     of    inferior     deities     and  attributes  (e.g.   M.  puteh,  White ;  M. 

even   of  animals  (e.g.  in  a  "Spectre  hitam,    Black;    M.    kuning,   Yellow) 

Huntsman  "  charm)  we  find  "  Lansat,  usually  assigned  to  the  inferior  divini- 

sa-raja  anjing,   etc."     Dewa   is   used  ties ;  and,  moreover,  in  an  invocation 

indiscriminately   (occasionally  in   con-  addressed  to  the  sea-spirit,  the  "  god  of 

junction  with   mambang)   both  of  the  mid-currents"  is  requested  to  forward 

greater  and  lesser  divinities.     Thus  we  a   message   to   Dato'    Rimpun    'Alam, 

not  unfrequently  find  such  expressions  which  appears  to  be  merely  another 

as  Dewa   Bisnu    (i.e.    Vishnu),    dewa  name  for  Batara  Guru,  the  reason  given 

mambang,  dewa  dan  mambang,  etc.- ;  for  the  preferment  of  this  request  being 

and  we  are    expressly  told   that   they  that  he  is  in  the  habit  of  "visiting  the 

(the  Dewas)    "are   so   called    because  Heart    of  the    Seas"    in    which  'Toh 

they  are  immortal."  Mambang  (per  se)  Rimpun  'Alam  dwells  (the  title  of  the 

is  said  to  be  similarly  used,  not  only  of  latter   being    perhaps    taken  from   the 

greater  (vide  App.  xvii.),  but  of  lesser  tree,  Pauh  Janggi). 
divinities,  and  "Mambang  Tali  Harus," 

iv  KALA  AND  S'Rl  89 

Mr.  Wilkinson  quotes  an  extraordinary  genealogy 
representing,  inter  alia,  "  Guru  as  the  actual  father 
of  the  Hindu  Trinity,"  and  also  of  "Sambu"  (whom 
he  cannot  identify),  and  "  Seri,  who  is  the  Hindu 
Sri,  the  goddess  of  grain,  and,  therefore,  a  deity 
of  immense  importance  to  the  old  Javanese  and 

On  this  I  would  only  remark  that  Sambu  (or 
Jambu)  is  the  first  portion  of  the  name  almost  uni- 
versally ascribed  to  the  Crocodile-spirit  by  the  Pen- 
insular Malays.1 

It  would  be  beyond  the  scope  of  this  work  to 
attempt  the  identification  of  Batara  Guru  (Shiva)  with 
all  the  numerous  manifestations  and  titles  attributed 
to  him  by  the  Malays,  but  the  special  manifestation 
(of  Shiva),  which  is  called  "  Kala,"  forms  an  integral 
part  of  the  general  conception,  whether  among  the 

1  Footnote  supra.  Sambu  (Sambhu,  ant  and  becomes  tapa.  Avatar,  '  a 
the  Auspicious  One)  is  merely  another  descent,'  is  converted  into  batara  ; 
name  for  Shiva  (rarely  of  Brahma),  and  instead  of  implying  the  descent  or 
and  its  application  to  the  crocodile-  incarnation  of  a  deity,  is  used  as  an 
spirit  would  appear  to  indicate  that  this  appellative  for  any  of  the  principal 
latter  was,  formerly,  at  least,  regarded  Hindu  deities.  Combined  with  guru, 
as  an  embodiment  of  that  supreme  also  Sanskrit,  it  is  the  most  current 
god's  manifestation  as  a  water -god.  name  of  the  chief  god  of  the  Hindus, 
It  is  worth  while  to  compare  this  with  worshipped  by  the  Indian  islanders, 
the  expression  "  'Toh  Panjang  Kuku,"  supposed  to  have  been  Vishnu,  or  the 
which  is  applied  to  the  corresponding  preserving  power.  It  may  be  trans- 
manifestation  of  the  supreme  god  on  lated  "  the  spiritual  guide  god,"  or, 
land,  and  which  strongly  suggests  the  perhaps,  literally  "  the  god  of  the 
tiger.  spiritual  guides,"  that  is,  of  the  Brah- 

"  Most  of  the  theological  words  of  this  mins.   Agama  in  Sanskrit  is  "authority 

list  [printed  in  App.  xiv.]  are   Sans-  for  religious  doctrine";  in  Malay  and 

krit,  and  afford  proof  sufficient,  if  any  Javanese  it  is  religion  itself,  and  is  at 

were  needed,  of  the  former  prevalence  present  applied  both  to  the  Mahome- 

of  the  Hindu  religion  among  the  Malays  dan  and  the  Christian  religions.     With 

and    Javanese.      Many    of    them    are  nearly  the  same  orthography,  and   in 

more  or  less  corrupted  in  orthography,  the  same  sense,  Sanskrit  words,  as  far 

owing  to  the  defective  pronunciation  as  they  extend,  are  used  throughout  the 

and  defective  alphabets  of  the  Archi-  Archipelago,   and  even  as  far  as  the 

pelago.     Some,    also,    are   altered   or  Philippines." — Crawfurd,  Mai.  Gram- 

varied  in  sense.      Tapas,   'ascetic  de-  mar,  pp.  cxcvii.-cxcviii. 
votion,'  is  deprived  of  its  last  conson- 


Malays  or  Hindus,  and  is,  therefore,  deserving  of 
some  attention. 

The  Malay  conception  of  Batara  Guru  seems  to 
have  been  that  he  had  both  a  good  and  a  bad  side 
to  his  character.  Though  he  was  "Destroyer"  he 
was  also  "  Restorer-to-life,"1  and  it  would  appear 
that  these  two  opposite  manifestations  of  his  power 
tended  to  develop  into  two  distinct  personalities, 
a  development  which  apparently  was  never  entirely 
consummated.  This,  however,  is  not  the  only 
difficulty,  for  on  investigating  the  limits  of  the 
respective  spheres  of  influence  of  Batara  Guru  and 
Kala,  we  find  that  the  only  sphere,  which  is  always 
admitted  to  be  under  Kala's  influence,  is  the  inter- 
mediate zone  between  the  respective  spheres  of  influ- 
ence of  Batara  Guru  (as  he  is  called  if  on  land,  "  Si 
Raya  "  if  at  sea)  and  a  third  divinity,  who  goes  by 
the  name  of  "  'Toh  Panjang  Kuku,"  or  "  Grandsire 

Now  Hindu  mythology,  we  are  told,  knows  next 
to  nothing  of  the  sea,  and  any  such  attempt  as  this 
to  define  the  respective  boundaries  of  sea  and  land 
is  almost  certain  to  be  due  to  the  influence  of  Malay 
ideas.  Again,  the  intermediate  zone  is  not  neces- 
sarily considered  less  dangerous  than  that  of  definitely 
evil  influences.  Thus  the  most  dangerous  time  for 
children  to  be  abroad  is  sunset,  the  hour  when  we 
can  "call  it  neither  perfect  day  nor  night";  so 
too  a  day  of  mingled  rain  and  sunshine  is  regarded 
as  fraught  with  peculiar  dangers  from  evil  spirits,  and 
it  would  be  quite  in  keeping  with  such  ideas  that  the 
intermediate  zone,  whether  between  high  and  low 
water-mark,  or  between  the  clearing  and  primeval 

1  Supra,  p.  86. 

iv  GODS  OF  THE  SEA  gi 

forest,  should  be  assigned  to  Kala,  the  Destroyer. 
In  which  case  the  expression  "  Grandsire  Long- 
Claws"  might  be  used  to  signify  this  special  mani- 
festation of  Shiva  on  land,  possibly  through  the 
personality  of  the  Tiger,  just  as  the  Crocodile -spirit 
appears  to  represent  Shiva  by  water.1 

We  thus  reach  a  point  of  exceptional  interest,  for 
hunting,  being  among  the  old  Hindus  one  of  the 
seven  deadly  sins,  was  regarded  as  a  low  pursuit,  and 
one  which  would  never  be  indulged  in  by  a  god.  Yet 
I  was  repeatedly  told  when  collecting  charms  about 
the  Spectre  Huntsman  that  he  was  a  god,  and,  ex- 
plicitly, that  he  was  Batara  Guru.  This  shows  the 
strength  of  the  Malay  influences  which  had  been  at 
work,  and  which  had  actually  succeeded  in  corrupting 
the  character,  so  to  speak,  of  the  supreme  god  of  this 
borrowed  Hindu  Trinity.2 

The  Batara  Guru  of  the  Sea,  who  by  some 
magicians,  at  all  events,  is  identified  with  Si  Raya 
(the  "  Great  One "),  and,  probably  wrongly,  with  the 
God  of  Mid-currents3  (Mambang  Tali  Harus),  is  of  a 
much  milder  character  than  his  terrestrial  namesake  or 
compeer,  and  although  sickness  may  sometimes  be 

1  Some    confirmation   of   this   view  and  Batara  Guru  di  Laut  (Shiva  of  the 

may  be  found  if  we  admit  the  explana-  Ocean)  from  low-water  mark  out  to  the 

tion  given  me  by  a  medicine-man,  who  open  sea. 

identified  the  Spectre  Huntsman  with  3  It  is  very  difficult  to  ascertain  the 

'Toh    Panjang  Kuku,   and   both  with  exact  relation  that 'Toh  Mambang  Tali 

Batara  Guru.  Harus  (God  of  Mid-currents)  bears  to 

1    The   supreme   god    in    the  State  Batara  Guru  di  Laut.     Most  probably, 

Chamber  (balei)  is  Batara  Guru,  on  the  however,    the   God   of  Mid -currents, 

edge   of  the  primeval  forest   (di-gigi  whose  powers  are  less  extensive  than 

rimba)  it  is  Batara  Kala,  and  in  the  those  of  the  "Shiva  of  the  Sea,"  is  an 

heart  of  the  forest  (di  hati  rimba)  it  is  old  sea-deity,  native  to  the  Malay  (pre- 

Toh   Panjang  Kuku,   or   "  Grandsire  Hindu)  religion,  and  that   "  Shiva  of 

Long-Claws."      Similarly  "Grandsire  the  Sea"  was  merely  the  local  Malay 

Long-  Claws  "  is  lord  of  the  shore  down  adaptation  of  the  Hindu  deity  after- 

to  high-water  mark  ;  between  that  and  wards  imported, 
low-water  mark  Raja  Kala  is  supreme, 


ascribed  to  the  sea-spirit's  wrath,  it  is  neither  so  sudden 
nor  so  fatal  as  the  sickness  ascribed  to  the  wanton  and 
unprovoked  malice  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman,  or  Spirit 
of  the  Land. 

Fishermen  and  seafarers,  on  the  other  hand,  obtain 
many  a  favour  from  him,  and  even  hope  to  make 
friends  with  him  by  means  of  simple  sacrifices  and 

Si  Raya  (or  Madu-Raya)  is  said  to  have  a  family, 
his  wife's  name  being  Madu-ruti,  and  his  children 
"Wa'  Ranai,"  and  "Si  Kekas"  (the  scratcher),  all  of 
whom,  however,  have  their  own  separate  spheres  of 
influence.  The  "Great  One"  himself  (Madu-Raya) 
rules  over  the  sea  from  low-water  mark  (at  the  river's 
mouth)  out  to  mid-ocean  ;  and  if  his  identity  with 
"  'Toh  Rimpun  'Alam "  is  accepted,1  his  place  of 
abode  is  at  the  navel  of  the  seas,  within  the  central 
whirlpool  (Pusat  Tasek),  from  the  centre  of  which 
springs  the  Magic  Tree  (Pauh  Janggi),  on  whose 
boughs  perches  the  roc  (garuda)  of  fable,  and  at 
whose  foot  dwells  the  Gigantic  Crab,  whose  entrance 
into  and  exit  from  the  cave  in  which  he  dwells  is 
supposed  to  cause  the  displacement  of  water  which 
results  in  the  ebb  and  flow  of  the  tide.2 

The  only  other  divinities  (of  the  rank  of  "  Mam- 
bangs  ")  which  are  of  any  importance  are  the  "  White 
divinity,"  who  dwells  in  the  Sun,  the  "  Black  divin- 
ity," who  dwells  in  the  Moon,  and  the  "'Yellow  divin- 
ity," who  dwells  in  the  Yellow  Sunset-glow,  which 
latter  is  always  considered  most  dangerous  to  children. 

When  there  is  a  decided  glow  at  sunset,  any  one 
who  sees  it  takes  water  into  his  mouth  (di-kemam  ayer) 

1    Vide  supra,  p.  88,  note.      Yang  b£rulang  ka  pusat  tasek  is  the  expression 
applied  to  Mambang  Tali  Harus.  2   Vide  supra,  pp.  6,  7. 

iv  THE  GENII  93 

and  dislodges  it  in  the  direction  of  the  brightness,  at 
the  same  time  throwing  ashes  (di-sembor  dengan  abu) 

saying : — 

Mambang  kuning,  mambang  kUabu^ 
Pantat  kuning  di-sembor  abu. 

This  is  done  "  in  order  to  put  out  the  brightness,"  the 
reason  that  it  must  be  put  out  being  that  in  the  case 
of  any  one  who  is  not  very  strong  (lemah  semangaf] 
it  causes  fever. 

(b]  Spirits,  Demons,  and  Ghosts 

The  "Jins"or  "Genii,"  generally  speaking,  form 
a  very  extensive  class  of  quite  subordinate  divinities, 
godlings,  or  spirits,  whose  place  in  Malay  mythology 
is  clearly  due,  whether  directly  or  indirectly,  to  Muham- 
madan  influences,  but  who  may  be  most  conveniently 
treated  here  as  affording  a  sort  of  connecting  link 
between  gods  and  ghosts.  There  has,  it  would  appear, 
been  a  strong  tendency  on  the  part  of  the  Malays  to 
identify  these  imported  spirits  with  the  spirits  of  their 
older  (Hindu)  religion,  but  the  only  Genie  who  really 
rises  to  the  level  of  one  of  the  great  Hindu  divinities 
is  the  Black  King  of  the  Genii  (Sang  Gala1  Raja,  or 
Sa-Raja  Jin),  who  appears  at  times  a  manifestation  of 
Shiva  Batara  Guru,  who  is  confounded  with  the  de- 
structive side  of  Shiva,  i.e.  Kala.  This  at  least  would 
appear  to  be  the  only  theory  on  which  we  could  explain 
the  use  of  many  of  the  epithets  or  attributes  assigned 
to  the  King  of  the  Genii,  who  is  at  one  time  called 
"  the  one  and  only  God  "  ;  at  another,  "  Bentara  (i.e. 

1  It  would    appear  not  impossible  higher  rank    of  this   particular  spirit, 

that  Sang  Gala  may  be  a  corruption  of  and  for  his  possession  of  the  titles  enu- 

Sangkara,  one  of  the  names  of  Shiva,  merated  above, 
which  would  account  at  once  for  the 


Batara),  Guru,  the  Genie  that  was  from  the  beginning," 
and  at  another,  "  the  Land  Demon,  the  Black  Batara 
Guru,"  etc. 

The  following  is  a  description  of  this,  the  mightiest 
of  the  Genii  :— 

Peace  be  with  you  ! 
Ho,  Black  Genie  with  the  Black  Liver, 
Black  Heart  and  Black  Lungs, 
Black  Spleen  and  tusk-like  Teeth, 
Scarlet  Breast  and  body-hairs  inverted, 
And  with  only  a  single  bone.1 

So  far  as  can  be  made  out  from  the  meagre  evidence 
obtainable,  the  spirit  thus  described  is  identifiable  with 
the  Black  King  of  Genii,  who  dwells  in  the  Heart 
of  the  Earth,  and  whose  bride,  Sang  Gadin  (or  Gading), 
presented  him  with  seven  strapping  Black  Genii  as 

Altogether  there  are  one  hundred  and  ninety  of 
these  (Black?)  Genii — more  strictly,  perhaps,  one  hun- 
dred and  ninety-three,  which  coincides  curiously  with 
the  number  of  "Mischiefs"  (Badi),  which  reside  in 
"all  living  things."  The  resemblance,  I  may  add, 
does  not  end  here  ;  for  though  the  Genii  may  do  good, 
and  the  "  Badi "  do  not,  both  are  considered  able  to 
do  infinite  harm  to  mortals,  and  both  make  choice  of 
the  same  kind  of  dwelling-places,  such  as  hollows  in 
the  hills,  solitary  patches  of  primeval  forest,  dead 
parasites  on  trees,  etc.  etc. 

As  to  the  origin  of  these  Genii,  one  magician  told 
me  that  all    "Jins"    came    from   the   country    "Ban 

1  Vide  App.  ccxxviii.     Another  ac-  bolt ");  ("£)  Sa-rukup  (  =  rungkup)  Rang 
count  adds  (with)  "  Black  Throat  and  Bumi   ("  World  -  coverer  ");     (4)    Sa- 
White  Blood,"  white    blood    being    a  g?rtak  Rang  Bumi  (" World-pricker"); 
royal  attribute.  (5)  Sa-gunchang Rang  Bumi  ("World- 

2  Their  names  were   (I)  Sa-lakun  shaker");   (6)  Sa-tumbok  Rang  Bumi 
darah  ("He  of  the  Blood-pool  (?))";  ("  World-beater")  and  (?)  (7)  Sa-gempar 
(2)  Sa-halilmtar("H.Q  of  the  Thunder-  *Alam  ("  Universe-terrifier  "). 


t-    a 


Ujan,"  which  may  possibly  be  Persia) ; l  other 
magicians,  however,  variously  derive  them  from  the 
dissolution  of  various  parts  of  the  anatomy  of  the  great 
snake  "  Sakatimuna,"  of  the  "First  Great  Failure" 
to  make  man's  image  (at  the  creation  of  man) ;  from 
the  drops  of  blood  which  spirted  up  to  heaven  when 
the  first  twins,  Abel  and  Cain  (in  the  Malay  version 
Habil  and  Kabil)  bit  their  thumbs  ;  from  the  big 
cocoa-nut  monkey  or  baboon  (berok  besar\  and  so  on. 

The  theory  already  mentioned,  viz.  that  the  Black 
King  of  the  Genii  gradually  came  to  be  identified  with 
Kala,  and  later  came  gradually  to  be  established  as  a 
separate  personality,  appears  to  be  the  only  one  which 
will  satisfactorily  explain  the  relations  subsisting  be- 
tween the  Black  and  White  Genii,  who  are  on  the  one 
hand  distinctly  declared  to  be  brothers,  whilst  the 
White  Genie  is  in  another  passage  declared  to  be 
Maharaja  Dewa  or  Mahadewa,  which  latter  is,  as  we 
have  already  seen,  a  special  name  of  Shiva. 

This  White  Genie  is  said  to  have  sprung,  by  one 
account,  from  the  blood-drops  which  fell  on  the  ground 
when  Habil  and  Kabil  bit  their  thumbs ;  by  another, 
from  the  irises  of  the  snake  Sakatimuna's  eyes  (benih 
mata  Sakatimuna],  and  is  sometimes  confused  with  the 
White  Divinity  ('Toh  Mambang  Puteh),  who  lives  in 
the  sun. 

The  name  of  his  wife  is  not  mentioned,  as  it  is  in 
the  case  of  the  Black  Genie,  but  the  names  of  three  of 
his  children  have  been  preserved,  and  they  are  Tanjak 

1  The    magician    appears   to    have  Father  of  the  Genii,  or,  according  to 

interpreted  it  as  'ajatn ;   but  it  others,  a  particular  class  of  them  who 

may  be  conjectured  that  this  is  a  mis-  are  capable  of  being  transformed  into 

taken  inference  from  some  expression  "Jin."      Vide  Hughes,  Diet,  of  Islam, 

like  Jin  ibnu  Jan,  "Jan,"  according  s.v.  Genii, 
to  some  Arabic  authorities,  being  the 




Malim  Kaya,  Pari  Lang  (lit.  kite-like,  i.e.  "  winged  " 
Skate),  and  Bintang  Sutan  (or  Star  of  Sutan).1 

On  the  whole,  I  may  say  that  the  White  Genie  is 
very  seldom  mentioned  in  comparison  with  the  Black 
Genie,  and  that  whereas  absolutely  no  harm,  so  far  as  I 
can  find  out,  is  recorded  of  him,  he  is,  on  the  other  hand, 
appealed  to  for  protection  by  his  worshippers. 

A  very  curious  subdivision  of  Genii  into  Faithful 
(Jin  Islam)  and  Infidel  (Jin  Kafir)  is  occasionally  met 
with,  and  it  is  said,  moreover,  that  Genii  (it  is  to  be 
hoped  orthodox  ones)  may  be  sometimes  bought  at 
Mecca  from  the  "  Sheikh  Jin  "  (Headman  of  Genii)  at 
prices  varying  from  $90  to  $100  a  piece.2 

1  Perhaps  a  corruption  of  Sartan, 
the  Crab  (Cancer)  in  the  Zodiac. 

2  The  following   account  of  Genii 
(printed  in  the  S clangor  Journal,  vol.  i. 
No.  7,  p.  1 02)  was  given  me  by  a  Mecca 
pilgrim  or  "  Haji."     This  man  was  a 
native  of  Java  who  had  spent  several 
years  in  the  Malay  Peninsula,  and  as 
Mecca  is  the  goal  of  the  pilgrimage  to 
all   good    Muhammadans   alike,    it   is 
important  to  know  something  of  the 
ideas  which  are  there  disseminated,  and 
with  which  the  Malay  pilgrim  would 
be   likely  to  come  in  contact.       "  In 
the    unseen  world    the    place   of  first 
importance    must    be     accorded,     on 
account  of  their  immense  numbers,  to 
the  '  Jins '  (the  '  Genii '  of  the  Arabian 

"  The  Javanese,  drawing  a  slightly 
stronger  line  of  distinction  (than  that 
of  good  and  bad  genii  in  the  Arabian 
Nighls),  call  these  two  (separate)  classes 
the  Jin  Islam  and  the  Jin  Kafir,  or  the 
Faithful  and  the  Infidel.  Of  these  two 
classes,  the  former  shrink  from  what- 
ever is  unclean,  and  the  latter  only  will 
approach  the  Chinese,  to  whom  the 
Jin  Islam  manifests  the  strongest  re- 
pugnance. The  good  genii  are  perfectly 
formed  in  the  fashion  of  a  man,  but  are, 
of  course,  impalpable  as  air,  though 
they  have  a  voice  like  mortals.  They 
live  in  a  mosque  of  their  own,  which 

they  never  leave,  and  where  they  offer 
up  unceasing  prayers.  This  mosque  is 
built  of  stone,  and  stands  beside  a  lake 
called  '  Kolam  Yamani ' ;  into  this 
lake  the  whole  of  the  waters  from  the 
neighbouring  country  drain,  and  the 
overflow  runs  down  to  the  sea.  In 
this  lake  the  good  genii  bathe,  and  if 
any  wicked  or  childless  mortals  bathe 
in  it  they  carry  them  off  and  detain 
them  in  the  mosque  until  they  (the 
mortals)  have  shown  proof  of  their 
reformed  character  by  continuing  for  a 
long  while  without  committing  a  wrong 
action,  when  they  are  sent  back  in 
safety  to  their  native  land.  I  should 
add  that  the  Jin  Islam  exact  tribute 
from  the  unfaithful — e.g.  Chinamen — 
and  if  they  do  not  receive  their  due, 
they  will  steal  it  and  give  it  to  a  son 
of  Islam.  [They  may  be  bought  from 
the  "  Sheikh  Jin  "  at  Mecca  for  prices 
varying  from  $90  to  $100  each.] 

"The  Jin  Kafir,  or  bad  genii,  are 
invariably  deformed,  their  heads  being 
always  out  of  their  proper  position  ;  in 
short,  they  are  Othello's 

Men  whose  heads 
Do  grow  beneath  their  shoulders. 

Their  commonest  name,  'Jin  isi-isi 
didalam  Dunia '  (the  Genii  who  Fill 
the  World),  is  owing  to  the  fact  that 
their  enormous  numbers  fill  the  whole 
atmosphere  from  earth  to  sky.  Like 



Besides  these  subdivisions,  certain  Genii  are  some- 
times specifically  connected  with  special  objects  or 
ideas.  Thus  there  are  the  Genii  of  the  royal  musical 
instruments  (Jin  Ne'mfiri,  or  Lempiri,  Gendang,  and 
Naubat),  who  are  sometimes  identified  with  the  Genii 
of  the  State  (Jin  Karaja'an),  and  the  Genii  of  the 
Royal  Weapons  (Jin  Sembuana),  both  of  which  classes 
of  Genii  are  held  able  to  strike  men  dead.  The  only 
other  Genie  that  I  would  here  specially  mention  is 
the  Jin  'Afrit  (sometimes  called  Jin  Rafrit),  from 
whom  the  "White  Man"  (a  designation  which  is 
often  specially  used  in  the  Peninsula  as  a  synonym 
for  Englishman)  is  sometimes  said  to  have  sprung,  but 
who  belongs  in  Arabian  mythology  to  a  higher  class 
than  the  mere  Genii.  Before  leaving  the  subject  of 
Genii,  I  must,  however,  point  out  the  extremely 
common  juxtaposition  of  the  Arabic  word  "Jin"  and 
the  Malay  "  Jembalang."  From  the  frequency  with 
which  this  juxtaposition  occurs,  and  from  the  fact  that 
the  two  appear  to  be  used  largely  as  convertible  terms, 
we  might  expect  to  find  that  Jin  and  Jembalang  were 
mere  synonyms,  both  applicable  to  similar  classes  of 
spirits.  The  process  is  not  quite  complete,  however,  as 
although  the  expression  Jembalang  Tunggal  (the  only 
Jembalang),  is  found  as  well  as  Jin  Tunggal,  the  higher 

the  good  Genii,  they  cannot  die  before  them  invisible  cocoa-nut  shells,  one  for 

the  great  day  of  judgment,  but  (unlike  each  drop  of  rain.     In  these  they  catch 

them)  they  are  dumb.  each  rain-drop  as  it  falls,  and  herbs 

"  Great  as  their  numbers  are  they  are  and    trees   alike   wither    for    lack    of 

continually    increasing,    as    they    are  moisture.       Then    the    angels    being 

suffered  by  God  to  get   children  after  wroth,  cast  thunderbolts  upon  them  out 

their  kind.     They  are  imps  of  mischief,  of  heaven,   and  these  malicious  elves 

and  their  whole  time  is  spent  in  works  take   shelter  in  tall  trees,  which   the 

I     of  malice.      Sometimes  when  there  has  thunderbolts   blast    in    their   fall.     At 

been  a  long  drought  and  a  heavy  shower  another  time  they  will  climb  one  upon 

of  rain  is  poured  down  upon  the  earth  the  other's  shoulders  until  they  reach 

by  the  angels  at  the  bidding  of  God  to  the  sky,  when  the  topmost  elf  kicks  a 

cool   the   parched   verdure,    they  will  neighbouring  angel,  and  then  they  all 

assemble  their  legions,   bringing  with  fall  together  with  a  crash  like  thunder. " 



honorific  Sang  Raja  or  Sa-Raja  is  never,  so  far  as  I  am 
aware,  prefixed  to  the  word  "  Jembalang,"  though  it  is 
frequently  prefixed  to  "Jin."  Of  the  other  members 
of  the  Malay  hierarchy  who  owe  their  introduction  to 
Muhammadan  influences,  the  only  ones  of  importance 
are  angels  (Mala'ikat),  prophets  (Nabi),  and  headmen 

I  will  take  them  in  this  order. 

Of  the  angels,  unquestionably  the  most  important 
are  Azrael  ('Azra'il  or  'Ijrail),  Michael  (Mika'il),  Israfel 
(Israfil,  Ijrafil,  or  Serafil),  and  Gabriel  (Jibra'il  or 
'Jabra'il,  often  corrupted  into  Raja  Brahil).  There 
can  be  no  doubt  that  the  foregoing  are  meant  for 
the  names  of  a  group  of  four  archangels,  the  name 
of  Israfel  corresponding  to  Abdiel,  who  generally 
occupies  the  fourth  place  in  our  own  angelic  hierarchy. 

Their  customary  duties  are  apportioned  among  the 
four  great  angels  as  follows  : — 

Azrael  is,  as  with  us,  the  angel  of  death,  who 
"  carries  off  the  lives  of  all  creatures  "  ;  Israfel  is  "  lord 
of  all  the  different  airs  "  in  our  body  ;  Michael  is  the 
"giver  of  daily  bread  ";  and  Gabriel  is  a  messenger 
or  "  bringer  of  news." 

Sometimes,  again,  a  White  Angel  (Mala'ikat  Puteh) 
is  mentioned,  e.g.  as  being  in  "  charge  of  all  things 
in  the  jungle,"  but  what  his  specific  duties  are  in 
this  connection  does  not  transpire. 

In  an  invocation  addressed  to  the  Sea-spirit,  how- 
ever, we  find  four  more  such  angels  mentioned,  all  of 
whom  hold  similar  charges  : — 

Chitar  AH  is  the  angel's  name,  who  is  lord  of  the  whirlpool ; 
Sabur  AH  is  the  angel's  name,  who  is  lord  of  the  winds ; 
Sir  AH  is  the  angel's  name,  who  is  lord  of  the  waters  of  the  sea  ; 
Putar  AH  is  the  angel's  name,  who  is  lord  of  the  rainbow. 


No  doubt  the  names  of  many  more  of  the  sub- 
ordinate angels  might  be  collected,  as  we  are  repeatedly 
told  that  they  are  forty-four  in  number. 

Of  the  prophets  (Nabi)  there  are  an  indefinite 
number,  the  title  being  applied  to  many  of  the  more 
prominent  characters  who  figure  in  our  own  Old 
Testament  (as  well  as  in  the  Koran),  but  who  would 
not  by  ourselves  be  considered  to  possess  any  special 
qualifications  for  prophetic  office.  Among  the  more 
famous  of  these  I  may  mention  (after  Muhammad  and 
his  immediate  compeers)  the  prophet  Solomon  (some- 
times considered — no  doubt  owing  to  his  unrivalled 
reputation  for  magical  skill — as  the  king  of  the  Genii, 
whose  assistance  the  hunter  or  trapper  is  continu- 
ally invoking) ;  the  prophet  David,  celebrated  for 
the  beauty  of  his  voice ;  and  the  prophet  Joseph, 
celebrated  for  the  beauty  of  his  countenance.  Besides 
these  (and  others  of  the  same  type),  there  is  a  group 
of  minor  prophets  whose  assistance  is  continually  in- 
voked in  charms ;  these  are  the  prophet  Tap  (Tetap 
or  Ketap?),  "lord  of  the  earth;"  the  prophet  Khailir 
(Khaithir  or  Khizr),  "lord  of  water ;"  the  prophet 
Noah,  "  lord  of  trees  ;  "  and  the  prophet  Elias,  "  planter 
of  trees." 

Khizr  is  often  confounded  with  Elias.  He  dis- 
covered and  drank  of  the  fountain  of  life  (whence  his 
connection  with  water),  and  will  consequently  not  die 
till  the  last  trump. 

Next  to  the  prophets  comes  the  "Sultan"  (Sultan), 
or  "King"  (Malik),  both  of  which  Arabic  titles, 
however,  are  somewhat  rarely  used  by  Malay 
magicians.  Still  we  find  such  expressions  as  Sa- 
Raja  (Sang- Raja?)  Malik  (King  of  Kings)  applied  to 
Batara  Guru. 


Next  to  these  royal  honorifics  comes  the  title  of 
"Headman"  or  "Sheikh." 

There  are,  it  is  usually  stated,  four  of  these  Sheikhs 
who  are  "  penned  "  (di-kandang]  in  the  Four  Corners 
of  the  Earth  respectively,  and  whose  names  are  'Abdul 
Kadir,  'Abdul  Muri,  a  third  whose  name  is  not  men- 
tioned, and  'Abdul  'Ali.1 

Sometimes  they  are  called  "Sheikh  'Alam  "  (or  Si 
Putar  'Alam),  and  are  each  said  to  reside  "within  a  ring- 
fence  of  white  iron."  Hence  we  obtain  a  perfectly 
intelligible  meaning  for  the  expression,  "  Ask  pardon  of 
the  Four  Corners  of  the  World"  i.e.  of  the  Sheikhs 
who  reside  therein,  though  the  phrase  sounds  ridi- 
culous enough  without  such  explanation. 

The  only  other  Arabic  title  which  is  perhaps  worth 
noticing  here2  is  that  of  "  Priest  "  (Imam),  which  we 
find  somewhat  curiously  used  in  an  invocation  addressed 
to  the  sea-spirit.  "  Imam  An  Jalil  is  the  name  of  the 
'Priest  of  the  Sea.'" 

In  the  invocation  addressed  to  the  Sea-spirit  we 
find  the  expression  : — 

"  Jungle-chief  of  the  World  is  the  name  of  the  Old 
Man  of  the  Sea." 

There  can,  however,  be  little  doubt  that  this  "  Old 
Man  of  the  Sea"  is  a  mere  synonym  for  Batara  Guru. 

A  set  of  expressions  to  which  special  reference 
should  perhaps  be  made  consists  of  the  titles  used 
by  the  wild  jungle  tribes  (Sakais),  the  use  of  which 

1  It   is   probable    that   the   Arabic  ally   used,    e.g.     Sidang   (or   Sedang) 
spirits  here  mentioned  have,  as  in  other  Saleh,    Sidang    (or    Sddang)    Mumin. 
cases,  taken  the  place  of  native  (Malay)  It  is  probable  that  "  Sidang  "  in  these 
spirits  to  whom  similar  functions  were  cases  is    a   Malay  word  implying  re- 
assigned,  but  whose  names   are  now  spectability  (v.  v.  d.  W.  s.v.),  so  that 
lost.  Sidang  Saleh  may  be  translated  "  Sir 

2  There  are,  besides,  one  or  two  partly  Devout,"   and    Sidang   Mumin,    "Sir 
Arabic  expressions  which  are  occasion-  Faithful." 


is  important  as  confirming  the  principle  that  the 
"  Autochthones  "  are  more  influential  with  the 
spirits  residing  in  their  land  than  any  later  arrivals 
can  be,  whatever  skill  the  latter  may  have  acquired 
in  the  magic  arts  of  the  country  from  whence  they 

"Abdullah  bin  Abdul  Kadir,  Munshi,  in  his 
Autobiography,  has  an  interesting  passage  on  the 
beliefs  of  the  Malays  on  the  subject  of  spirits  and 
demons,  beliefs  which  are  much  more  deeply-rooted 
than  is  generally  supposed.  He  does  not,  however, 
differentiate  between  national  customs  and  beliefs,  and 
those  which  have  come  in  with  the  Muhammadan 
religion.  And  indeed  it  is  not  easy  to  do  so.  Here, 
everything  is  classed  under  the  generic  term  sheitan, 
which  is  Arabic,  and  we  find  the  rakshasa  of  Hindu 
romances  and  the/w  and  'efrit  of  the  Arabian  Nights 
in  the  company  of  a  lot  of  Indo-Chinese  spirits  and 
goblins,  who  have  not  come  from  the  West  like  the 
others  :— 

"  I  explained  to  Mr.  M.  clearly  the  names  of  all 
the  sheitan  believed  in  by  Chinese  and  Malays ;  all 
ignorance  and  folly  which  have  come  down  from  their 
ancestors  in  former  times,  and  exist  up  to  the  present 
day,  much  more  than  I  could  relate  or  explain.  I 
merely  enumerated  the  varieties,  such  as  hantu, 
sheitan^  polong?  pontianak^  penanggalan?  jin?  pelisit? 
mambang?  hantu  pemburu?  hantu  rimba,  jadi-jadi- 

1  Hantu    and    sheitan   are   generic  6  ThePe/isttorPH/sif,  like  the /Wo«f, 

terms  for  evil  spirits,  the  former  being  is  a  familiar  spirit  (vide  pp.  329-331, 

the  Malay  term,  the  latter  Arabic.  infra). 

-  The  Polong  is  a  familiar  spirit.  6  The  Mambangs  are  inferior  Malay 
8  The  Pontianak   and  PUnanggalan  divinities  (vide  pp.  88  n.,  91-93,  supra). 

are  childbirth  spirits  (vide  pp.  327,  328,  7  The  Hantu  PUmburu  is  the  Spectre 

infra).  Huntsman  (vide  pp.   113-120,  infra), 

*  They*«  is  the  genie  of  the  "Arabian  for  whom  Hantu  Rimba  is  probably  a 
Nights  "  (vide  pp.  93-97,  supra).  mere  synonym. 



an,1  hantu  bengkus?  bota,  gargasi,  raksaksa?  nenek 
kabayan?  himbasan?  sawan?  hantu  mati  di-bunoh? 
bajang?  katagoran,  sempak-kan,  puput-kan?  'efrit™ 
jemalang^  terkena™  ubat  guna™  Besides  all  these 
there  are  ever  so  many  ilmu-ilmu  (branches  of  secret 
knowledge),  all  of  which  I  could  not  remember,  such 
as  gagah™  penundok^  pengasih™  kebal™  kasaktian^ 
tuju™  'alimun,~Q  penderas^-  perahuh^  chucha?*  pelali^ 
perangsang™  and  a  quantity  of  others.  All  these  are 

1  The  Jadi-jadian  is  the  Were-tiger 
(vide  pp.  160-163,  infra}. 

2  The  Bengkus  I  have  not  yet  been 
able  to  identify. 

3  The  Bota,  Gargasi,   and  Raksasa 
(not  raksaksa)  are  giants. 

4  The    Nenek    Kabayan    does    not 
appear  to  be  a  ghost  at  all ;  it  may, 
however,  possibly  be   a  rare   synonym 
for  some  well-known  character  in  Malay 
folklore  (such  as  the  wife  of  the  Man 
in  the  Moon).     It  is  not  so  explained  in 
the  best  Dutch  dictionaries,  however, 
but    simply  as    the  village    messenger 
(dorpsbode)    who     sells     flowers     and 
carries  lovers'  messages. 

6  The   Himbasan    I    have   not   yet 

6  The   Sawan    (i.e.  Hantu    Sawan) 
is  the  demon  or  devil  which  is  believed 
to  cause  convulsions. 

7  The  Hantu  (orang)  mati  di-bunoh 
is  the  ghost  of  a  murdered  man. 

8  The  Bajang  is    a    familiar    spirit 
(vide  pp.  320-325,  infra). 

9  The    Hantu    katagoran,    sempak- 
kan,   and  puput-kan  I  have  not  been 
able  to  identify,  and  as  the  two  last 
possess  the  verbal  suffix  it  is  clear  that 
each  is  the  name  of  a  state  or  process 
and  not  of  a  ghost  or  demon.     In  fact, 
v.    d.    Wall    gives    (under    sampok), 
ke'sampokan,    which    he    explains     as 
meaning    "  door    een'     boozen    geest 
getroffen    zijn,"    to    be    attacked    or 
possessed  by  an    evil  spirit,   which   is 
doubtless   the  correcter   form    of  the 
word.      So    with  puput  -  kan,    which 
is  also  a  verbal  form  meaning  (ace.  to 
v.  d.  W.)  "to  blow  (tr.),"  to  " sound  a 
wind    instrument."      It    would    seem 

that   'Abdullah's   list  of  "ghosts"   is 
not  very  systematically  drawn  up. 

10  The  lefrit  is  a  spirit  of  Arabian 

11  The  Jemalang  (Je"mbalang)  is   a 
Malay  earth-spirit. 

12  T2rk2na  is  a  past  participial  form 
used  of  people  who  are  thought  to  be 
"struck  by"  or  "affected  by"  one  of 
the  foregoing  demons. 

13  Ubat  guna  is  a  love-philtre. 

14  Gagah     (usually     pgnggagaK)    is 
the  art  of  making  one's  self  bold  or 

15  Ptfnundok,  the  art  of  making  one's 
enemy  yield  (tundok). 

16  Pfngasih,  the  art  of  making  one's 
self  beloved  by  another. 

17  KZbal  (p?ng2bal)  the  art  of  making 
one's  self  invulnerable. 

18  Kasaktian,   the  art  of  acquiring 
magic  powers. 

19  Tuju    (pfnuju),    the    art    called 

20  'Alimun,  the  art  of  making  one's 
self  invisible. 

21  PendZras,  the  art  of  making  one's 
self  swift-footed. 

22  Perahuh   (a  misprint  for  pZruah 
=peruang  ?)  that  of  keeping  water  at  a 
distance  from  one's  face  when  diving, 
and  also,   it   is    said,    of  walking  on 
the  water  without   sinking   below  the 

23  Chucha    is,    I    believe,    a     love 

24  Pelali,   is  the  art  of  numbing  or 
deadening  pain. 

25  PPrangsang,  the  art  of  exciting  or 
whetting  the  temper  of  the  dogs  when 


firmly  believed  in  by  the  people.  Some  of  these  arts 
have  their  professors  (guru)  from  whom  instruction 
may  be  got.  Others  have  their  doctors,  who  can  say 
this  is  such  and  such  a  disease,  and  this  is  the  remedy 
for  it,  and  besides  these  there  are  all  those  arts  which 
are  able  to  cause  evil  to  man.  When  Mr.  M.  heard 
all  this  he  was  astonished  and  wondered,  and  said, 
'  Do  you  know  the  stories  of  all  these  ? '  I  replied, 
'  If  I  were  to  explain  all  about  them  it  would  fill  a 
large  book,  and  the  contents  of  the  book  would  be 
all  ignorance  and  nonsense  without  any  worth,  and 
sensible  persons  would  not  like  to  listen  to  it,  they 
would  merely  laugh  at  it.'  " l 

To  the  foregoing  the  following  list  of  spirits  and 
ghosts  may  be  added. 

The  Hantu  Kubor  (Grave  Demons)  are  the  spirits 
of  the  dead,  who  are  believed  to  prey  upon  the  living 
whenever  they  get  an  opportunity.  With  them  may 
be  classed  the  "Hantu  orang  mati  di-bunoh"  or 
"  spirits  of  murdered  men." 

"  ^he  Hantu  Ribut  is  the  storm-fiend  that  howls 
in  the  bfcist  and  revels  in  the  whirlwind." : 

The  Hantu  Ayer  and  Hantu  Laut  are  Water  and 
Sea-spirits,  and  the  Hantu  Bandan  is  the  Spirit  of 
the  Waterfall,  which  "may  often  be  seen  lying  prone 
on  the  water,  with  head  like  an  inverted  copper 
(kawak)"  where  «he  water  rushes  down  the  fall  between 
the  rocks. 

The  Hantu  Loaggak 8  is  continually  looking  up  in 

1  Hik.  Abdullah,  p.  145.     [Maxwell  is  sometimes  identified  with  the  Hantu 
v&J.R,A.S.,S.B.,'No.\i,N.andQ.,  Pemburu,    or    wild    huntsman,    who, 
No.  4,  sec.  98.]  after  hunting  the  earth,  harked  on  his 

2  Newbold,  op.  cit.  vol.u.  p.  191.  dogs  through  the  sky,  and  whose  head, 

3  The  name  of  this  derron  is  prob-  from  his  continually  looking  upwards, 
ably  connected  with  the  Many  dongak,  became  fixed  in  that  position. 

which  means  to  "look  upwards."     It 


the  air.     Those  who  are  attacked  by  him  foam  at  the 

The  Hantu  Rimba  (Deep-forest  Demon),  Hantu 
Raya1  ("Great"  Demon),  Hantu  Denei  (Demon  of 
Wild-beast-tracks),  the  Hantu-hantuan  (Echo-spirits), 
and  I  think  the  Hantu  Bakal,  are  all  spirits  of  the 
jungle,  but  are  perhaps  somewhat  less  localised  than 
the  large  class  of  spirits  (such  as  the  Malacca-cane, 
gharu,  gutta,  and  camphor- tree  spirits)  which  are 
specially  associated  with  particular  trees. 

The  Hantu  B'rok  is  the  Baboon  Demon  (the 
B'rok  being  what  is  generally  called  the  "  cocoa-nut 
monkey,"  a  sort  of  big  baboon) ;  it  is  sometimes 
supposed  to  take  possession  of  dancers,  and  enable 
them,  whilst  unconscious,  to  perform  wonderful  climb- 
ing feats. 

The  Hantu  Belian,  according  to  many  Selangor 
Malays,  is  a  tiger-spirit  which  takes  the  form  of  a  bird. 
This  bird  is  said  to  be  not  unlike  the  raquet-tailed 
king-crow  (chenchawt),  and  to  sit  on  the  tiger's  bsck, 
whence  it  plucks  out  the  tiger's  fur  and  swallows  it, 
never  allowing  it  to  fall  to  the  ground.2 

The  Hantu  Songkei3  is  the  spirit  who  so  often 
interferes  with  the  toils  for  catching  wild  animals  and 
snares  for  wildfowl  (yang  kachau  jarinf  dan  rachik\. 
He  is  described  as  being  invisible  below  the  breast, 

1  The  Hantu  Raya  is  sometimes  said  fere  with  are^nares  and  rope-traps,  and 
to  dwell  in  the   centre   of  four  cross-  as  the  most  obvious  way  in  which  they 
roads.    There  is  a  sea-spirit  of  the  same  could  be    '  interfered  "  with  would  be 
name,  Si  Raya,  which  should,  however,  by  untying  or  loosening  their  knots, 
probably   be    identified    with    Batara  the   connection  between   the   name  of 
Guru.  this     spirit    md    the    Malay    rungkei 

2  Malay  Sketches,  p.  197.  to     unloose   or    undo,    is    sufficiently 

3  The  name  of  this  Demon  (songkei  obvious.     The  name,  therefore,  would 
=  sa-ungkei?)  is   no   doubt   connected  appear    to  mean    the    "Untying"    or 
with    the   Malay    ungkei   or   rungkei,  "  Looseniig  Demon,"  naturally  a  most 
which  means  to  undo  or  unloose  a  knot.  vexatious  >pirit  to  have  anywhere  near 
The  only  traps  which  it  is  said  to  inter-  your  sna£S  or  nooses. 

iv  HANTU  SONGKEI  105 

with  a  nose  of  enormous  length,  and  eye-sockets 
stretched  sideways  to  such  an  extent  that  he  can  see 
all  round  him. 

The  following  charm  is  recited  in  order  to 
"  neutralise  "  his  evil  influence  : — 

Peace  be  with  you,  grandson  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman, 

Whose  Dwelling-place  is  a  solitary  patch  of  primeval  forest, 

Whose  Chair  is  the  nook  between  the  buttresses  (of  trees), 

Whose  Leaning-post  the  wild  Areca-palm, 

Whose  Roof  the  (leaves  of  the)  Tukas, 

Whose  Body-hairs  are  leaves  of  the  Re'sam, 

Whose  Mattress  leaves  of  the  Lerek, 

Whose  Swing  the  (tree)  Medang  Jelawei, 

And  whose  Swing-ropes  are  Malacca-cane-plants 

The  Gift  of  His  Highness  Sultan  Berumbongan, 

Who  dwelt  at  Pagar  Ruyong, 

In  the  House  whose  posts  were  heart  of  the  Tree-nettle, 

Whose  threshold  a  stem  of  Spinach, 

Strewn  over  with  stems  of  the  Purut-purut, 

Whose  Body-hairs  were  inverted, 

And  whose  Breasts  were  four  in  number, 

To  whom  belonged  the  Casting-net  for  Flies, 

And  whose  drum  was  "headed"  with  the  skins  of  lice. 

Break  not  faith  with  me, 

(Or)  you  shall  be  killed  by  the  Impact  of  the  Sanctity  of  the 

Four  Corners  of  the  World, 
Killed  by  the  Impact  of  the  Forty-four  Angels, 
Killed  by  the  Impact  of  the  Pillar  of  the  Ka'bah, 
Killed  by  the  Thrust  of  the  sacred  Lump  of  Iron, 
Killed  by  the  Shaft  of  the  Thunderbolt, 
Killed  by  the  Pounce  of  Twilight  Lightning, 
Killed  by  the  Impact  of  the  Thirty  Sections  of  the  Koran, 
Killed  by  the  Impact  of  the  Saying,  "  There  is  no  god  but  God," 


Giants  are  called  Bota  (Bhuta),  Raksasa,  and 
Gargasi  (gasi-gasi  or  gegasi\  or  sometimes  Hantu 
Tinggi  ("  Tall  Demons  "),  the  first  two  of  these  names 
being  clearly  derivable  from  a  Sanskrit  origin. 

In  addition  to  those  enumerated  we  may  add  the 
various  classes  of  "  good  people,"  such  as  the  Bidadari 


(or  Bediadari)  or  Peri  (fairies  and  elves),  which  are 
of  foreign  origin,  and  the  "  Orang  Bunyian,"  a  class 
of  Malay  spirits  about  whom  very  little  seems  known. 
The  latter  appear  to  be  a  race  of  good  fairies,  who  are 
so  simple-minded  that  they  can  be  very  easily  cheated. 
Thus  it  is  always  said  of  them,  that  whenever  they 
come  into  a  hamlet,  as  they  may  occasionally  do,  to 
buy  anything,  they  always  pay  without  bargaining 
whatever  price  is  asked,  however  exorbitant  it  may  be. 
I  have  been  told  of  their  existence  at  Kapar  village 
(near  Klang  in  Selangor),  at  Jugra,  where  it  was  said 
they  might  formerly  be  heard  paddling  their  boats 
upon  the  river  when  no  boat  was  visible,  and  else- 

Besides  these  there  are  several  kinds  of  blood- 
sucking (vampire)  demons,  which  are  mostly  Birth- 
spirits  ;  and  also  certain  inciibi,  such  as  the  Hantu 
Kopek,  which  is  the  Malay  equivalent  of  our  own 



(a)  Air 


NOT  the  least  important  attribute  of  the  Malay  magi- 
cian in  former  days  was  his  power  of  controlling  the 
weather — a  power  of  which  Malay  magic  incantations 
still  preserve  remarkable  traces. 

Thus  when  the  wind  fails  and  the  sails  of  a  boat 
are  flapping  (kalau  layer  K lepek-K lepefc),  a  Selangor 
magician  would  not  unfrequently  summon  the  wind  in 
the  following  terms  :— 

"  Come  hither,  Sir,  come  hither,  my  Lord, 
Let  down  your  locks  so  long  and  flowing." 

And  if  the  wind  is  contrary  he  would  say  : — 

"  Veer  round,  Wind,  a  needle  or  twain  (of  the  compass), 
A  needle  to  (let  me)  fetch  Kapar}- 
However  heavy  the  merchandise  that  I  carry  unassisted, 
Let  me  repair  to  Klang.ioi  the  (morning)  meal, 
And  Langat  for  the  (evening)  bathe. 

1  Kapar, Klang, Langat: the Pawang  in  succession  during  the  day  "if  the 

(magician)  mentions,  by  way  of  example,  wind  will  listen  to  him."    The  Pawang 

the  names  of  three  places  on  the  Se-  who  told  me   this  was  a  Kapar  man 

langor  coast  which  he  wishes  to  visit  ('Che  'Akob). 


1 08  AIR 

Come  hither,  Sir,  come  hither,  my  Lord, 
And  let  down  your  locks  so  long  and  flowing." 

Again,  if  the  wind  grew  violent  he  would  say  : — 

"Eggs  of  the  House-lizard,  Eggs  of  the  Grass-lizard, 
Make  a  trio  with  Eggs  of  the  Tortoise. 
I  plant  this  pole  thus  in  the  mid-stream 
(That)  Wind  and  Tempest  may  come  to  naught. 
Let  the  White  (ones)  turn  into  Chalk, 
And  the  Black  (one)  into  Charcoal.1 

Sometimes  the  magician  will  fasten  a  rice-spoon 
(chemcha) 2  horizontally  to  the  mast  of  the  vessel,  and 
repeat  some  such  charm  as  the  following : — 

"The  bird  ' Anggau-anggau '  flies 
To  perch  on  the  house  of  Malim  Palita. 
May  you  die  as  you  lean,  may  you  die  from  a  push, 
May  you  die  by  this  '  sending  '  of  '  Prince  Rice-spoon's.' "  3 

Of  rain-making  ceremonies  in  Selangor  there  now 
remains  little  but  tradition.  Yet  a  Langat  Malay  told 
me  that  if  a  Malay  woman  puts  upon  her  head  an 
inverted4  earthenware  pan  (fflanga),  and  then,  setting 
it  upon  the  ground,  fills  it  with  water  and  washes  the 
cat  in  it  until  the  latter  is  more  than  half  drowned, 
heavy  rain  will  certainly  ensue.5 

1  The  first  two  lines  are  no  doubt  3  P£ngiran  Chgmcha,  which  I  trans- 
(as  elsewhere)  a  sort  of  rhymed  memoria  late  Prince  Rice-spoon,  appears  to  be 
tecknica,  intended  to  "memorise"  the  a  mock  title  of  Bornean  origin.     Thus 
accessories  required  for  the  rite.     The  we  read  that  "P£ngiran"or  "Pangeran" 
tortoise   here  would   appear   to   be  a  is  the  title  of  the  four  Ministers  of  State 
symbol  of  rain,  as  among  the  Sakais  (wazirs)  in  Brunei,  one  of  whom  was 
(wild  tribes)  of  the   Malay  Peninsula.  called  Pengiran  Pamancha,  of  which  the 
v.  Haddon,  Evolution  of  Art,  p.   246.  present  name  (Pengiran  ChSmcha)  looks 
Can  the  "white "(or  gray?)  "ones"  like    a    corruption. — J.R.A.S.,    S.B., 
be  the  two  lizards  ;    and   the  "  black  No.  20,  p.  36. 

one "  the  tortoise  ?     The  grass  lizards  4  Inverted  (I  was  given   to  under- 

are  of  various  colours.  stand),  by  way  of  symbolising  the  vault 

2  The  rice-spoon  is  a  favourite  weapon  of  heaven — a  good  example  of  sympa- 
against  spirits  of  evil,  v.   Maxwell  in  thetic  magic. 
J.R.A.S.^S.B.^o.  7,  p.  19,  which  de-  6  For  other  superstitions  about  the 

scribes  how  a  woman  in  travail  is  armed       cat,  vide  pp.  190-192,  infra. 
with  a  [rice-]  spoon  during  an  eclipse. 


On  the  other  hand  the  recital  of  the  following  charm 
will,  it  is  believed,  effectually  stop  the  heaviest  down- 
pour : — 

"Though  the  stem  of  the  MSranti  tree1  rocks  to  and  fro  (in  the 


Let  the  Yam  leaves  be  as  thick  as  possible,2 
That  Rain  and  Tempest  may  come  to  naught." 

With  the  foregoing  should  be  classed  such  charms 
as  are  used  by  the  Malays  to  dispel  the  yellow  sunset 

2.    BIRDS    AND    BIRD    CHARMS 

The  chief  features  of  the  Bird-lore  of  the  Peninsular 
Malays,  which,  as  will  appear  in  the  course  of  this 
chapter,  is  strongly  tinged  with  animism,  have  been 
thus  described  by  Sir  William  Maxwell : — 

"  Ideas  of  various  characters  are  associated  by 
Malays  with  birds  of  different  kinds,  and  many  of 
their  favourite  similes  are  furnished  by  the  feathered 
world.  The  peacock  strutting  in  the  jungle,  the 
argus  pheasant  calling  on  the  mountain  peak,  the  hoot 
of  the  owl,  and  the  cry  of  the  night-jar,  have  all 
suggested  comparisons  of  various  kinds,  which  are 
embodied  in  the  proverbs  of  the  people.4  The  Malay 

1  The  mtranti  is  a  fine  hard-wood  The  idea  is  that  the  beauty  of  the 
forest  tree.  bird  is  thrown  away  when  exhibited  in 

2  i.e.  "May  we  be  well  sheltered."  a  lonely  spot  where  there  is  none  to 

3  Vide  p.  93,  supra.  admire  it. 

4  The  proverbs  referred  to  are  to  be 

found   in   the   collections  of  proverbs  ?2'  Sepertt  ponggok  menndu  bulan. 

sent  by  Mr.   Maxwell  to  Nos.    i,   2,  "  As  the  owl  sighs  longingly  to  the 

and   3  of  the  Journal  of  the  Straits  moon." 

Branch  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society.  A    figure    often    used    by   Mal         in 

The  numbers  are  consecutive.  describing  the  longing  of  a  lover  for 

4.   Apa  guna-nia  merak  mengigal  di  his    mistress.     It    recalls    a    line    in 

hutan?  Gray's  "Elegy,"   "The   moping    owl 

"What  is  the  use  of  the  peacock  doth  to  the  moon  complain."     [As  to 

strutting  in  the  jungle  ?  "  the  story  connected  with  the  ponggok, 




is  a  keen  observer  of  nature,  and  his  illustrations, 
drawn  from  such  sources,  are  generally  just  and  often 

"  The  supernatural  bird  Gerda  (Garuda,  the  eagle  of 
Vishnu),  who  figures  frequently  in  Malay  romances,  is 
dimly  known  to  the  Malay  peasant.  If,  during  the 
day,  the  sun  is  suddenly  overcast  by  clouds  and 
shadow  succeeds  to  brilliancy,  the  Perak  Malay  will 
say  "  Gerda  is  spreading  out  his  wings  to  dry." l  Tales 
are  told,  too,  of  other  fabulous  birds 2 — the  jintayu, 
which  is  never  seen,  though  its  note  is  heard,  and 
which  announces  the  approach  of  rain ; 8  and  the 
chandrawasi,  which  has  no  feet.  The  chandrawasi 

vide  infra,  p.  122.   Capt.  Kelham,  vide 
infra,    supposes    the  ponggok    to    be 
Scops  lempiji,  Horsf.] 
73.  Seperti    kuang    mekik    di-puchuk 


"  Like  the  argus  pheasant  calling  on 
the  mountain  peak." 

Another  poetical  simile  for  a  complain- 
ing lover.     Here  he  is  compared  to  a 
lonely  bird  sounding  its  note  far  from 
all  companions. 
93.   Seperti  tetegok  di-rumah  tinggal. 

"  Like  the  night-jar  at  a  deserted 

The  tegok  or  tetegok  is  a  bird  common 
in  the  Malay  Peninsula,  whose  habits 
are  nocturnal  and  solitary.  It  has  a 
peculiar,  liquid,  monotonous  call.  The 
phrase  is  used  to  signify  the  solitude 
and  loneliness  of  a  stranger  in  a  Malay 

Elsewhere  (in  notes  afterwards 
published  in  the  Selangor  Journal} 
(vol.  i.  No.  23,  p.  360)  Sir  W.  E. 
Maxwell  says  "  The  burong  tetegok  is 
not  a  night  bird,  but  flies  by  day.  It 
can  be  distinguished  by  its  short  rapid 
note,  which  resembles  tegok-tegok-tegok- 
tegok"  Apparently  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell 
identifies  this  bird  with  the  Malay  night- 
jar (Caprimulgus  macrurus.  Horsf.) 
described  by  Capt.  Kelham,  in  No.  9, 

page  122  of  ttieJ.R.A.S.,  S.B.  None 
of  the  Dutch  Dictionaries  identify  it 
clearly,  though  Klinkert  (probably 
wrongly)  identifies  it  with  the  small 
owl  called  ponggok,  which  is  taken  by 
Capt.  Kelham  to  be  Scops  IPmpiji, 

1  Gerda  meniumur  kepah-nia. 

2  Another  fabulous  bird  which  Max- 
well does  not  mention  is  the  Walimana 
(which  I  have  more  than  once  heard 
called  Wilmana  in  Selangor).     On  the 
identity  of  this  bird,my  friend  Mr.  Wilkin- 
son, of  the  Straits  Civil  Service,  sends  me 
in  a  letter  the  following  note  : — "The 
word  is  walimana.     I  have  often  met 

it  in  old  MSS.  written/. 

The  '  wait '  is  the  same  as  the  second 
word  in  Rajawali.  The  mana  is 
'  human  ' ;  cp.  man,  manushya,  etc. 
The  ivalimana  in  old  Javanese  pottery 
is  represented  as  a  bird  with  a  human 
head,  a  sort  of  harpy.  In  the  Hikayat 
Sang  Samba  it  is  the  steed  of  Maharaja 
Boma,  and  repeatedly  speaks  to  its 

3  Laksanajintayu  menantikan  hujan 
"as  tiiejintayu  awaits  the  rain,"  is  a 
proverbial  simile  for  a  state  of  anxiety 
and  despondency.  Jintayu  =  jatayu 
(Sanskrit),  a  fabulous  vulture. 


lives  in  the  air,  and  is  constantly  on  the  wing,  never 
descending  to  earth  or  alighting  on  a  tree.  Its  young 
even  are  produced  without  the  necessity  of  touching 
the  earth.  The  egg  is  allowed  to  drop,  and  as  it  nears 
the  earth  it  bursts,  and  the  young  bird  appears  fully 
developed.  The  note  of  the  chandrawasi  may  often 
be  heard  at  night,  but  never  by  day,  and  it  is  lucky, 
say  the  Malays,  to  halt  at  a  spot  where  it  is  heard 

"  There  is  an  allusion  to  this  bird  in  a  common 
pantun — a  kind  of  erotic  stanza  very  popular  among 
the  Malays  : — 

"  Chandrawasi  burong  sakti, 
Sangat  berkurong  didalam  awan, 
Gonda  gulana  didalam  hati, 
Sahari  tidak  memandang  tuan}- 

"  Nocturnal  birds  are  generallyconsidered  ill-omened 
all  over  the  world,  and  popular  superstition  among  the 
Malays  fosters  a  prejudice  against  one  species  of 
owl.  If  it  happens  to  alight  and  hoot  near  a  house, 
the  inhabitants  say  significantly  that  there  will  soon  be 

1  The  chandrawasi,  bird  of  power,  romances)  to  the  golden  oriole  and  even 

Is  closely  hidden  among  the  clouds.  to  the  ostrich.  In  the  Malay  Peninsula, 

Anxiety  reigns  in  my  heart,  too,  it  is  said  to  fly  feet  upwards  (which 

Each  day  that  I  see  not  my  love.  peculiarity  it  shares,  according  to  Mr. 

[To  the  above  I  may  perhaps  be  Clifford,  with  the  Btrek-berek,  Pub. 

allowed  to  add  that  the  (dialectal)  form  J-R.A.S.,S.B.,Hik.Raj.Budiman,^- 

chandrawasiris  the  form  generally  used  "•  35)>  an^  its  eggs  are  sometimes  said, 

in  the  southern  part  of  Selangor  (where  on  falling,  to  develop  into  the  snake 

the  final  "r"  is  still  commonly  pre-  called  chintamani.  It  is  always 

served).  The  regular  (Dictionary)  form  considered  lucky,  and  the  "Bird  of 

of  the  word,  however,  appears  to  be  Paradise  Prayer,"  (do'a  chandrawasi) 

chandrawasih  or  chtndfrawaseh  (the  as  it  is  called,  generally  takes  an 

forms  chJnddrawangsa,  chfndfrawasa,  important  place  in  the  formulas  recited 

and  chtndSrawangseh  being  also  found).  at  the  ceremonies  connected  with  the 

In  origin  the  word  is  undoubtedly  Rice-soul,  q.v.  For  the  confusion 

Sanskrit.  between  the  chandrawasi  and  berek- 

It  means  the  Bird  of  Paradise,  but  in  berek  (probably  due  to  the  fact  that 

those  Malay  countries  where  the  Bird  the  chfndrawasit  or  Bird  of  Paradise,  is 

of  Paradise  is  unknown,  it  is  also  n°t  to  be  found  in  the  Peninsula)  vide 

applied  to  other  birds,  such  as  (in  Malay  note  on  App.  xxx.] 


'  tearing  of  cloth '  (koyak  kapan)  for  a  shroud.  This 
does  not  apply  to  the  small  owl  called  punggok,  which, 
as  soon  as  the  moon  rises,  may  often  be  heard  to  emit 
a  soft  plaintive  note.  The  note  of  the  punggok  is 
admired  by  the  Malays,  who  suppose  it  to  be  sighing 
for  the  moon,  and  find  in  it  an  apt  simile  for  a  despond- 
ing lover. 

"  The  baberek  or  birik-birik,  another  nocturnal  bird, 
is  a  harbinger  of  misfortune.  This  bird  is  said  to  fly 
in  flocks  at  night ;  it  has  a  peculiar  note,  and  a  passing 
flock  makes  a  good  deal  of  noise.  If  these  birds  are 
heard  passing,  the  Perak  peasant  brings  out  a 
sengkalan  (a  wooden  platter  on  which  spices  are 
ground),  and  beats  it  with  a  knife,  or  other  domestic 
utensil,  calling  out  as  he  does  so:  " Nenek,  bawa 
hati-nia  "  ("  Great-grandfather,  bring  us  their  hearts  "). 
This  is  an  allusion  to  the  belief  that  the  bird  baberek 
flies  in  the  train  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman  (hantu 
pembnru),  who  roams  Malay  forests  with  several 
•ghostly  dogs,  and  whose  appearance  is  the  forerunner 
of  disease  or  death.  "  Bring  us  their  hearts "  is  a 
mode  of  asking  for  some  of  his  game,  and  it  is  hoped 
that  the  request  will  delude  the  hantu  pemburu 
into  the  belief  that  the  applicants  are  ra'iyat,  or 
followers  of  his,  and  that  he  will,  therefore,  spare  the 

"  The  baberek?  which  flies  with  the  wild  hunt,  bears 
a  striking  resemblance  to  the  white  owl,  Totosel,  the 
nun  who  broke  her  vow,  and  now  mingles  her  "tutu  " 
with  the  "  holloa  "  of  the  Wild  Huntsman  of  the  Harz.2 

1  The    baberek    appears   to    be    yet  events,  the  legend  of  the  Wild  Hunts- 
another    name  for  the    goat-sucker  or  man  and  his  dogs  (or  Gabriel's  Hounds, 
night -jar      (Caprimulgus      macrurns,  as  they  are  often  called)  is  explained  by 
Horsf.)     Dawn  of  History,  page  171.  the   cries  of  wild    geese    flying   over- 

2  As  it  appears  that  in  Europe,  at  all  head  on  dark  nights,   it  seems   most 


"  The  legend  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman  is  thus  told 
by  the  Perak  Malays  : — 

"In  former  days,  at  Katapang,  in  Sumatra,  there 
lived  a  man  whose  wife,  during  her  pregnancy,  was 
seized  with  a  violent  longing  for  the  meat  of  the  pelan- 
dok  (mouse-deer).  But  it  was  no  ordinary  pelandok 
that  she  wanted.  She  insisted  that  it  should  be  a  doe, 
big  with  male  offspring,  and  she  bade  her  husband  go 
and  seek  in  the  jungle  for  what  she  wanted.  The 
man  took  his  weapons  and  dogs  and  started,  but  his 
quest  was  fruitless,  for  he  had  misunderstood  his  wife's 
injunctions,  and  what  he  sought  was  a  buck  pelandok, 
big  with  male  offspring,  an  unheard-of  prodigy. 

convenient  to  give  the  Malay  legend  in 
connection  with  the  birds  with  which  the 
Malays  associate  him.  The  explanation 
to  which  I  refer  is  to  be  found  in  Prof. 
Newton's  Dictionary  of  Birds  (1893), 
sub  voce  "Gabble-ratchet."  I  quote 
in  exienso  : — 

"In  many  parts  of  England,  but 
especially  in  Yorkshire,  the  cries  of 
some  kind  of  wild  goose,1  when  flying 
by  night,  are  heard  with  dismay  by 
those  who  do  not  know  the  cause  of 
them,  and  are  attributed  to  '  Gabriel's 
Hounds,'  an  expression  equivalent  to 
'Gabble -ratchet,'  a  term  often  used 
for  them,  as  in  this  sense  gabble  is  said 
to  be  a  corruption  of  Gabriel,  and  that, 
according  to  some  mediaeval  glossaries, 
is  connected  with  gabbara  or  gabares,  a 
word  meaning  a  corpse  (cp.  Way, 
Promptorium  Parvulorum,  p.  320, 
su6  voce  '  Lyche ')  ;  while  ratchet  is 
undoubtedly  the  same  as  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  race  and  Middle  English  racche 
or  rache,  a  dog  that  hunts  by  scent  and 
gives  tongue.  Hence  the  expression 
would  originally  mean  '  corpse- 
hounds,'  and  possibly  has  to  do  with 
legends  such  as  that  of  the  Wild  Hunts- 
man. .  .  .  The  sounds  are  at  times 
very  marvellous,  not  to  say  impressive, 
when  heard,  as  they  almost  invariably 

are,  on  a  pitch-dark  night,  and  it  has 
more  than  once  happened  within  the 
writer's  knowledge  that  a  flock  of 
geese,  giving  utterance  to  them,  has 
continued  for  some  hours  to  circle  over 
a  town  or  village  in  such  a  way  as  to 
attract  the  attention  of  the  most  un- 
observant of  its  inhabitants,  and  inspire 
with  terror  those  among  them  who  are 
prone  to  superstition.  (Cp.  Atkinson, 
Notes  and  Queries,  ser.  4,  vii.  pp. 
439,  440,  and  Cleveland  Glossary,  p. 
203  ;  Herrtage,  Catholicon  Anglicum, 
p.  147  ;  Robinson,  Glossary  Whitby, 
(Engl.  Dial.  Soc.)  p.  74;  and  Addy, 
Glossary  Sheffield  (Engl.  Dial.  Soc.) 
p.  83.  Mr.  Charles  Swainson  (Prov. 
Names,  Br.  B.,  p.  98),  gives  'Gabble- 
ratchet  '  as  a  name  of  the  night-jar, 
but  satisfactory  proof  of  that  statement 
seems  to  be  wanting."2 

1  Prof.  Newton  here  has  a  note  :  "  Presum- 
ably the  BRANT,  on  the  rare  occasions  when, 
losing   its  way,  it  comes  inland,  for  the  call- 
notes  proceeding  from  a  flock  of  this  species 
curiously  resemble  the  sound  of  hounds  in  full 
cry  (Thompson,   B.  Irel.   iii.   p.   59),   though 
some   hearers   liken   them   to  the  yelping    of 
puppies.    The  discrepancy  may  to  some  extent 
depend  on  distance." 

2  Possibly  the  sounds  made  by  the  geese 
might    be    attributed    to    the    night  -  jar    by 
peasants  through  the  latter' s  appearing  at  the 
time  they  were  made.     It  is  curious  that  the 
Malays  as  well  should  connect  the  night-jar 
with  the  Wild  Huntsman. 


11  Day  and  night  he  hunted,  slaying  innumerable 
mouse-deer,  which  he  threw  away  on  finding  that  they 
did  not  fulfil  the  conditions  required. 

"  He  had  sworn  a  solemn  oath  on  leaving  home  that 
he  would  not  return  unsuccessful,  so  he  became  a 
regular  denizen  of  the  forest,  eating  the  flesh  and 
drinking  the  blood  of  the  animals  which  he  slew,  and 
pursuing  night  and  day  his  fruitless  search.  At  length 
he  said  to  himself :  '  I  have  hunted  the  whole  earth 
over  without  finding  what  I  want ;  it  is  now  time  to 
try  the  firmament.'  So  he  holloa'd  on  his  dogs  through 
the  sky,  while  he  walked  below  on  the  earth  looking 
up  at  them,  and  after  a  long  time,  the  hunt  still  being 
unsuccessful,  the  back  of  his  head,  from  constantly 
gazing  upwards,  became  fixed  to  his  back,  and  he  was  no 
longer  able  to  look  down  at  the  earth.  One  day  a  leaf 
from  the  tree  called  St  Limbak  fell  on  his  throat  and 
took  root  there,  and  a  straight  shoot  grew  upwards  in 
front  of  his  face.1  In  this  state  he  still  hunts  through 
Malay  forests,  urging  on  his  dogs  as  they  hunt  through 
the  sky,  with  his  gaze  evermore  turned  upwards.2 

"His  wife,  whom  he  left  behind  when  he  started 
on  the  fatal  chase,  was  delivered  in  due  time  of  two 
children — a  boy  and  a  girl.  When  they  were  old 
enough  to  play  with  other  children,  it  chanced  one  day 
that  the  boy  quarrelled  with  the  child  of  a  neighbour 
with  whom  he  was  playing.  The  latter  reproached  him 
with  his  father's  fate,  of  which  the  child  had  hitherto 

1  Selangor  Malays  add  further  that  (pinang  senawar).     He  then  binds  it 
his   whole    body    became    overgrown  up  again  with  a  creeper  (akar  gasing- 
with  orchids,  a  conceit  which  recalls  gasing),  and  roasts   it    over  an    earth 
their  story  of  a  local  hero  who  went  on  hearth  (saleian),    the  floor   (lantei)   of 
swimming  in   the  sea  until  his    body  which  is  of  the  pinang  boring  (another 
became  covered  with  oysters  !  wild  areca  palm),  and  covers  it  over 

2  The  Spectre  Huntsman  is  said  to  with  wild  banana  leaves  (tudong  salei 
butcher  (bantai)  his  game,  whenever  he  daun  pisang  hutan]  and  leaves  of  the 
gets  it,  under  a  kind  of  wild  areca  palm  r/sa»i  bracken. 


been  ignorant,  saying  :  '  Thou  art  like  thy  father,  who 
has  become  an  evil  spirit,  ranging  the  forests  day  and 
night,  and  eating  and  drinking  no  man  knows  how. 
Get  thee  to  thy  father.' 

"  Then  the  boy  ran  crying  to  his  mother  and  related 
what  had  been  said  to  him.  '  Do  not  cry,'  said  she, 
'  it  is  true,  alas !  that  thy  father  has  become  a  spirit  of 
evil.'  On  this  the  boy  cried  all  the  more,  and  begged 
to  be  allowed  to  join  his  father.  His  mother  yielded 
at  last  to  his  entreaties,  and  told  him  the  name  of  his 
father  and  the  names  of  the  dogs.  He  might  be 
known,  she  said,  by  his  habit  of  gazing  fixedly  at  the 
sky  and  by  his  four  weapons — a  blow-pipe  (sumpitan), 
a  spear,  a  kris,  and  a  sword  (klewang).  'And,'  added 
she,  '  when  thou  hearest  the  hunt  approaching,  call 
upon  him  and  the  dogs  by  name,  and  repeat  thy  own 
name  and  mine,  so  that  he  may  know  thee.' 

"The  boy  entered  the  forest,  and,  after  he  had 
walked  some  way,  met  an  old  man  who  asked  him 
where  he  was  going.  'I  go  to  join  my  father/  said 
the  lad.  '  If  thou  findest  him,'  said  the  old  man,  'ask 
him  where  he  has  put  my  chisel  which  he  has  borrowed 
from  me.'  This  the  boy  promised  to  do,  and  con- 
tinued his  journey.  After  he  had  gone  a  long  way  he 
heard  sounds  like  those  made  by  people  engaged  in 
hunting.  As  they  approached,  he  repeated  the  names 
which  his  mother  had  told  him,  and  immediately  found 
himself  face  to  face  with  his  father.  The  hunter  de- 
manded of  him  who  he  was,  and  the  child  repeated  all 
that  his  mother  had  told  him,  not  forgetting  the  message 
of  the  old  man  about  the  chisel.  Then  the  hunter  said  : 
'  Truly  thou  art  my  son.  As  for  the  chisel,  it  is  true 
that  when  I  started  from  home  I  was  in  the  middle  of 
shaping  some  bamboos  to  make  steps  for  the  house. 


I  put  the  chisel  inside  one  of  the  bamboos.  Take  it 
and  return  it  to  the  owner.  Return  now  and  take  care 
of  thy  mother  and  sister.  As  for  him  who  reproached 
thee,  hereafter  we  will  repay  him.  I  will  eat  his  heart 
and  drink  his  blood,  so  shall  he  be  rewarded.' 

"  From  that  time  forward  the  Spectre  Huntsman  has 
afflicted  mankind,  and  many  are  those  whom  he  has 
destroyed.  Before  dismissing  his  son,  he  desired  him 
to  warn  all  his  kindred  never  to  use  bamboo  for  mak- 
ing steps  for  a  house,  and  never  to  hang  clothes  to  dry 
from  poles  stuck  in  between  the  joists  supporting  the 
floor,  and  thus  jutting  out  at  right  angles  with  a  house, 
'  lest,'  said  he,  '  I  should  strike  against  such  poles  as  I 
walk  along.  Further,'  he  continued,  'when  ye  hear 
the  note  of  the  bird  birik-birik  at  night,  ye  will  know 
that  I  am  walking  near.' 

"Then  the  boy  returned  to  his  mother  and  de- 
livered to  her  and  all  their  kindred  the  injunctions  of  the 
lost  man.  One  account  says  that  the  woman  followed 
her  spectre  husband  to  the  forest,  where  she  joins  in 
the  chase  with  him  to  this  day,  and  that  they  have 
there  children  born  in  the  woods.  The  first  boy  and 
girl  retained  their  human  form,  according  to  this 
account,  but  some  Pawangs  say  that  the  whole  family 
are  in  the  forest  with  the  father.1 

"  Numerous  mantra,  or  charms,  against  the  evil 
influence  of  the  Wild  Huntsman  are  in  use  among  the 

1  Selangor    Malays    add    that    the  kunta    and    pinang   kunta.       Before 

Spectre   Huntsman  himself  instructed  administering  it,  however,  an  augury 

his  son  how  to  cure  people  who  were  has  to  be  taken  :  young  shoots  of  the 

suffering  from  the  effects  of  his  magic.  (wild  ?)     cotton  -  tree     (puchok     daim 

These  instructions  were :   "Take  leaves  kapas)  are  plucked  and  have  the  sap 

of  the    bonglei,   resam,  gasing-gasing,  squeezed  out  of  them  (dj-ramas).     If 

and  wild  banana,  shred  and  distil  them  the  liquor  is  red  the  patient  may  be 

(di-ttraskan),  and  administer  the  potion  cured  ;    but    if  it   has  a  black    look, 

to    the    patient,    together   with   sirih  nothing  can  be  done  to  save  him." 


g>  a  „  J3 

1  I  *-fl 

if*   *   3 
o   v  "^  *" 

^^  i;    jT  -g 

n   S.  P   - 

_  ..       .M  — 

£     2  It   g 

«  S  §  '-5 

v  CHA  RM  A  GAINST  HIS  I  NFL  UENCE  1 1 7 

Pawangs,  or  medicine-men  of  Perak.  These  are  re- 
peated, accompanied  by  appropriate  ceremonies,  when 
the  disease  from  which  some  sick  person  is  suffering 
has  been  traced  to  an  encounter  with  the  hantu 

"  The  following  may  serve  as  a  specimen  :-— 

"  Bi-smi-lldhi-r-rahmdni-r-rahim. 
Es-salamu  ^aleykum  Hei  Si  Jidi  laki  Mah  Jadah. 

Pergi  buru  ka-rimba  Ranchah  Mahang. 

Katapang  nama  bukit-nia, 

Si  Langsat  nama  anjing-nta, 

Si  Kumbang  nama  anjing-nia, 

Si  Nibong  nama  anjing-nia, 

Si  Pintas  nama  anjing-nia, 

Si  Aru-Aru  nama  anjing-nya, 

Timiang  JBalu  nama  sumpitan-nia, 

Lankapuri  nama  lembing-nia, 

Singha-buana  nama  mata-nia, 

Pisau  raut  panjang  ulu 

Akan  pemblah  pinang  berbulu, 

Ini-lah  pisau  raut  deripada  Maharaja  Guru, 

Akan  pemblah  prut  hantu  pemburu. 

Aku  tahu  asal  angkau  mula  menjadi  orang  Katapang. 

Pulang-lah  angkau  ka  rimba  Ranchah  Mahang. 

Jangan  angkau  meniakat-meniakit  pada  tuboh  badan-ku. 

In  the  name  of  God,  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful, 
Peace  be  on  thee,  O  Si  Jidi,  husband  of  Mah  Jadah. 

Go  thou  and  hunt  in  the  forest  of  Ranchah  Mahang. 

Katapang  is  the  name  of  thy  hill, 

Si  Langsat  is  the  name  of  thy  dog, 

Si  Kumbang  is  the  name  of  thy  dog, 

Si  Nibong  is  the  name  of  thy  dog, 

Si  Pintas  is  the  name  of  thy  dog, 

Si  Aru-Aru  is  the  name  of  thy  dog, 

Timiang  Balu  is  the  name  of  thy  blow-pipe 

1  The  sickness  which  results   from  or   summons  (katHgoran)   begins  with 

crossing  the  path  of  the  Spectre  Hunts-  persistent    fever     (d/mam    salama-la- 

ma.n(kalintasan)  has  choleraic  symptoms  ma-nya),  but  does  not  prove  so  rapidly 

(vomiting  and  voiding)  and  is  quickly  fatal, 
fatal ;  that  resulting  from  his  challenge 


Lankapuri  is  the  name  of  thy  spear, 

Singha-buana  is  the  name  of  its  blade, 

The  peeling-knife  with  a  long  handle 

Is  to  split  in  twain  the  fibrous  betel-nut. 

Here  is  a  knife  from  Maharaja  Guru, 

To  cleave  the  bowels  of  the  Hunter-Spirit. 

I  know  the  origin  from  which  thou  springest, 

O  man  of  Katapang. 

Get  thee  back  to  the  forest  of  Ranchah  Mahang. 

Afflict  not  my  body  with  pain  or  disease. 

"  In  charms  intended  to  guard  him  who  repeats 
them,  or  who  wears  them  written  on  paper,  against 
the  evil  influences  of  the  Spectre  Huntsman,  the 
names  of  the  dogs,  weapons,  etc.,  constantly  vary. 
The  origin  of  the  dreaded  demon  is  always,  how- 
ever, ascribed  to  Katapang1  in  Sumatra.  This  super- 
stition strikingly  resembles  the  European  legends 
of  the  Wild  Huntsman,  whose  shouts  the  trembling 
peasants  hear  above  the  storm.  It  is,  no  doubt,  of 
Aryan  origin,  and,  coming  to  the  Peninsula  from 
Sumatra,  seems  to  corroborate  existing  evidence  tend- 
ing to  show  that  it  is  partly  through  Sumatra  that  the 
Peninsula  has  received  Aryan  myths  and  Indian 
phraseology.  A  superstitious  prejudice  against  the 
use  of  bamboo  in  making  a  step-ladder  for  a  Malay 
house  and  against  drying  clothes  outside  a  house  on 
poles  stuck  into  the  framework,  exists  in  full  force 
among  the  Perak  Malays. 

"  The  note  of  the  birik-birik  at  night,  telling  as  it 
does  of  the  approach  of  the  hantu  pemburu,  is  listened 
to  with  the  utmost  dread  and  misgiving.  The  Bataks 
in  Sumatra  call  this  bird  by  the  same  name — birik-birik. 
It  is  noticeable  that  in  Batak  legends  regarding  the 
creation  of  the  world,  the  origin  of  mankind  is  ascribed 

1  As  to  this,  vide  App.  xxx. ,  note. 


to  Putri-Orta-Bulan,  the  daughter  of  Batara-Guru, 
who  descended  to  the  earth  with  a  white  owl  and  a  dog"^ 

To  the  information  contained  in  the  foregoing  pas- 
sage I  would  add  the  following  observations  : — 

Charms  for  neutralising  the  power  of  the  Spectre 
Huntsman  are  by  no  means  uncommon,  and  though 
they  almost  invariably  differ  in  unimportant  details, 
such  as  the  names  of  his  dogs  and  weapons,  they  still 
bear  strong  and  unmistakable  family  likeness.  Still 
there  are  some  versions  which  contain  important 
divergencies  (two  or  three  of  these  versions  will  be 
found  in  the  Appendix),  and  it  will  only  be  after  the 
diligent  collation  and  compilation  of  a  great  many 
versions  that  the  real  germ  or  nucleus  of  the  myth  as 
known  to  the  Malays  will  be  clearly  apparent. 

One  of  the  charms  given  in  the  Appendix  evi- 
dently alludes  to  a  different  version  of  the  story ;  the 
lines  which  contain  the  allusion  being  as  follows  : — 

"  I  know  your  origin,  O  man  of  penance, 
Whose  dwelling  was  upon  the  hill  of  Mount  Ophir, 
[You  sprang]  from  a  son  of  the  Prophet  Joseph  who  was  wroth 

with  his  mother, 
Because  she  would  eat  the  hearts  of  the  birds  of  Paradise." 

Yet  even  here,  if  we  except  the  obvious  interpola- 
tion of  the  reference  to  the  "son  of  the  Prophet 
Joseph,"  the  task  of  reconciling  the  conflicting  versions 
may  be  easier  than  would  appear  at  first  sight.2 

A  still  more  curious  deviation  occurs  in  another 
version,3  where  the  Spectre  Huntsman's  poniard  and 
Kris  are  declared  to  be  the  insignia  of  the  great 
Spirit-King  Rama.  The  passage  is  as  follows  :— 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  pp.  12-18. 

2  Vide  App.  xxx.,  lines  13,  14,  15,  and  16.  3  App.  xxviii. 


"  With  a  blind  crow  as  his  guide, 
The  giant  demon,  Si  Adunada, 
Carries  (his  weapons)  slung  over  his  shoulder  with  back  bent 


Salampuri  is  the  name  of  his  poniard  (sekiri), 
Silambuara  the  name  of  his  ffris, 
The  insignia  of  the  Demon  Rama." 

That  it  is  his  weapons  which  the  Spectre  Hunts- 
man's son  (Adunada)  carries  on  his  back  appears  from 
a  passage  below,  which  runs  :— 

"  O  Si  Adunada,  with  the  sword  slung  at  your  back, 
Bent  double  you  come  from  the  lightwood  swamps, 
We  did  not  guess  that  you  were  here." 

This  reference  to  Rama  opens  up  a  long  vista  of 
possibilities,  but  for  the  present  it  will  be  sufficient  to 
remark  that  the  Spectre  Huntsman  himself  is  almost 
universally  declared  by  the  Malays  to  be  the  King 
of  the  Land -folk  (Raja  orang  darat\  It  is  on 
account  of  this  kingship  that  his  weapons  receive 
distinguishing  titles  such  as  are  given  to  royal 
weapons.  This,  too,  is  the  reason  that  he  is  so  much 
more  dreaded  by  Malays  than  ordinary  spirits  of  evil ; 
his  mere  touch  being  considered  sufficient  to  kill,  by 
the  exercise  of  that  divine  power  which  all  Malay 
Rajas  are  held  to  possess.1 

To  return  from  the  foregoing  digression  :  there  are 
many  other  curious  legends  connected  with  Birds. 
Thus,  in  1882,  Captain  Kelham  wrote  as  follows : — 

1  I  was  once  stationed  for  about  Huntsman  (di-sepak  ulch  Hantu  P2m- 
eighteen  months  in  a  small  out-of-  burn)  as  he  was  going  down  the  hill  to 
the -way  village  on  the  Selangor  the  village  in  the  morning.  He  took 
coast,  where  three  subordinate  officers  no  notice  of  the  occurrence  and  pro- 
of the  Government  (foremen  of  works)  ceeded  down  the  river  in  a  boat.  Three 
had  died  successively,  at  comparatively  hours  later  he  vomited  mangrove  leaves(!) 
short  intervals.  The  last  of  these  men,  and  was  brought  back  dead  !  Cp.  N. 
I  was  informed  by  the  local  Malays,  and  Q.,  No.  2,  sec.  32  (issued  with 
received  a  kick  from  the  Spectre  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  15). 


"From  Mr.  W.  E.  Maxwell,  H.M.  Assistant  Resi- 
dent, of  Larut,  I  hear  that  the  Malays  have  a  strange 
legend  connected  with  one  of  the  large  Hornbills;  but 
which  species  I  was  not  able  to  find  out.  It  is  as  fol- 
lows : — 

"  '  A  Malay,  in  order  to  be  revenged  on  his  mother- 
in-law  (why,  the  legend  does  not  relate),  shouldered 
his  axe  and  made  his  way  to  the  poor  woman's  house, 
and  began  to  cut  through  the  posts  which  supported  it. 
After  a  few  steady  chops  the  whole  edifice  came 
tumbling  down,  and  he  greeted  its  fall  with  a  peal  of 
laughter.  To  punish  him  for  his  unnatural  conduct  he 
was  turned  into  a  bird,  and  the  tebang  mentuah  (liter- 
ally, He  who  chopped  down  his  mother-in-law)  may 
often  be  heard  in  the  jungle  uttering  a  series  of  sharp 
sounds  like  the  chop  of  an  axe  on  timber,  followed  by 
Ha!  ha!  ha!'"1 

The  following  account  of  the  bird-lore  of  the  Malay 
Peninsula  was  compiled  by  me  from  notes  supplied 
to  the  Selangor  Journal*  by  the  late  Sir  William 
Maxwell : — 

The  Night-jar  (Burong  cheroh*}  takes  its  name  from 
the  word  applied  to  the  second  stage  in  the  operation 
of  husking  rice.  Malay  women  husk  rice  by  pounding 
it  in  a  mortar  with  a  wooden  pestle.  The  husked 
grain  is  then  commonly  winnowed  in  a  sieve,  and 

1  ¥romJ.R.A,S.,  S.B.,  No.  9,  pp.  very  high  trees.     The  legend  about  it 

129,  130,  "  Malayan  Ornithology,"  by  is  very  common,  but  I  do  not  know 

Captain  H.  R.  Kelham,  who  adds  : —  the  scientific  name  of  that  particular 

"I  asked  Mr.  Low,  H.B.M.   Resi-  Hornbill  ;  but  it  is  not  that  you  refer 

dent  of  Perak,  if  he  could  give  me  any  to,  viz.  Berenicomis  comati4s,  Raffles  ; 

information    as    to   which   species   of  nor  is  it  the  Rhinoceros. ' " 

Hornbill  this  legend  relates  to,  and  he  2  Vol.  i.  No.  23,  pp.  360-363. 

writes —  3  If  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell  is  right  this 

"  '  It  is  the  largest  Hornbill  which  is  must  be  another  name  for  the  night-jar 

found  in  Perak,  bigger,  I  should  say,  (vide p.  lion,  supra).     But  the  identi- 

than   the  Rhinoceros    Hornbill,  but  I  fication  is  at  least  doubtful, 
have  never  seen  it  except  flying,  or  on 


the  unhusked  rice  (antak)  which  remains  has  to  be 
separated  from  the  husked  rice  and  pounded  over 
again.  The  second  process,  which  is  called  cheroh, 
is  that  from  which  the  night-jar  derives  its  name, 
the  quick  fancy  of  the  Malay  hearing  in  the  note 
of  the  bird  the  slow  measured  stroke  of  a  pestle 
(antan)  descending  in  a  mortar  (lesong).  This  is 
possibly  the  foundation  of  the  legend  that  the  Night- 
jar is  a  woman  who,  while  engaged  in  husking  rice 
by  moonlight,  was  turned  into  a  bird  in  consequence 
of  a  quarrel  with  her  mother.  Another  name  for 
the  night-jar  is  burong  chempak. 

The  Burong  sepah  putri  ("Princess's  betel-quid") 
belongs  to  the  Honey-birds  or  Bee-eaters,  of  which 
there  are  several  species,  remarkable  chiefly  for  their 
brilliant  metallic  plumage.  [A  quaint  story  is  told  in 
explanation  of  its  name  :  once  upon  a  time  the  Owl 
{ponggok)  fell  in  love  with  the  Princess  of  the  Moon 
(Putri  Bulan)  and  asked  her  to  marry  him.  She 
promised  to  do  so,  if  he  would  allow  her  first  to  finish 
her  quid  of  betel  undisturbed  ;  but  before  finishing  it 
she  threw  it  down  to  the  earth,  where  it  took  the  form 
of  the  small  bird  in  question.  The  Princess  then 
requested  the  Owl  to  make  search  for  it,  but  as,  of 
course,  he  was  unable  to  find  it,  the  proposed  match 
fell  through.  This  is  the  reason  why  the  Owl,  to 
quote  the  Malay  proverb,  "sighs  longingly  to  the 
Moon,"  and  is  the  type  of  the  plaintive  lover.1] 

The  Burong  tinggal anak  (lit.  "Good-bye,  children  " 
bird)  is  a  small  bird  whose  note  is  to  be  heard  at  the 
season  when  the  young  rice  is  sprouting  (musim  padi 
pechak  anak}.  As  soon  as  her  young  are  hatched 
out  this  bird  dies  in  the  nest,  repeating  the  words 

1    Vide  supra,  p.  109,  note. 

v  BIRDS  OF  ILL  OMEN  123 

"  Tinggal  anak"  ("Good-bye,  children"),  and  the 
maggots  which  breed  in  her  corpse  afford  an  un- 
natural nourishment  to  her  unsuspecting  offspring. 

Burong  diam  'kau  Tuah,  or  "  Hold  your  peace, 
Tuah,"  is  the  name  of  a  small  bird  which  is  said  to 
repeat  the  words — 

"  Diam  'kau,  Tuah, 

K'ris  aku  ada," 

"  Hold  thy  peace,  Tuah, 

My  Kris  (dagger)  is  with  me." 

The  story  runs  that  once  upon  a  time  there  was  a 
man  who  had  a  slave  called  Tuah,  who  answered  him 
back,  and  with  whom  he  accordingly  found  fault,  using 
the  words  given  above.  In  the  transport  of  his 
rage  he  was  turned  into  a  bird. 

The  bird  called  Kuau  in  Perak  (kuau  is  the  name 
given  in  Malacca  and  Selangor  to  the  argus  pheasant, 
which  in  Perak  is  called  kuang]  is  about  the  size  of 
the  mynah  (gambala  kerbau),  and  is  said  to  have 
been  metamorphosed  from  a  woman,  the  reason  of 
whose  transformation  is  not  known.  It  is  said  to  be 
unknown  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Perak  River. 

The  "  '  Kap-kap '  bird  "  is  the  name  of  a  night-bird 
of  evil  omen,  whose  note  heard  at  night  prognosticates 

The  Tearer  of  the  shroud  (Burong  charik  kapan) 
is  also  a  night-bird,  with  a  slow,  deliberate  note  which 
the  Malays  declare  sounds  exactly  like  the  tearing 
of  cloth.1  This  signifies  the  tearing  of  the  shroud, 
and  unerringly  forebodes  death.  Yet  another  night- 
bird  ominous  of  approaching  dissolution  is  the 
Tumbok  larong.  This  bird,  like  the  two  preceding, 

1  Cp.  Swett.,  Mai.  Sketches,  p.  1 60. 


is  probably  a  variety  of  owl  ;  the  first  and  third  are 
only  found  inland  at  a  distance  from  the  sea. 

1 '  To/i  katampi  ("  Old  -man  -winnow-  the-rice-for-the- 
burial-feast,"  as  Sir  Frank  Swettenham  calls  him,1)  is 
a  species  of  horned  owl,  which  derives  its  name  from  a 
word  meaning  to  winnow  (tampi,  menampi\  Malays 
say  that  this  bird  has  a  habit  of  treading  upon  the 
extremities  of  its  own  wings,  and  fluttering  the  upper 
part  while  thus  holding  them  down.  This  singular 
habit  produces  a  sound  resembling  that  of  winnowing. 

The  'Tok  katampi  is  larger  than  the  Jampuk> 
another  species  of  owl,  which  is  popularly  supposed 
to  enter  the  fowl-house  and  there  live  on  the  intestines 
of  fowls,  which  it  extracts  during  life  by  means  of  a 
certain  charm  ('elmu pelali,  a  charm  similar  to  those 
used  by  the  Malays  for  filing  teeth,  etc.)  which  it 
uses  in  order  to  perform  the  operation  painlessly. 

The  "  Luck-bird  "  (Burong  untong]  is  a  very  small 
white  bird  about  the  size  of  a  canary.  It  builds  a 
very  small  white  nest,  which  if  found  and  placed  in 
a  rice-bin  possesses  the  valuable  property  of  securing 
a  good  harvest  to  its  owner.  As,  however,  the  nest 
is  built  on  branches  in  places  difficult  of  access  it  is 
but  rarely  found,  and  Malays  will  give  $10  for  a 
genuine  specimen,  while  sellers  are  known  to  ask  as 
much  as  $25. 

The  Ruwak-ruwak  is  a  kind  of  Heron  whose  nest 
if  discovered  would  give  the  possessor  the  power  of 
becoming  invisible  (alimun).  But  as  neither  nest 
nor  eggs  can  usually  be  found  it  is  held  to  be  child- 
less. Yet,  however,  if  it  is  possible  to  approach 
sufficiently  near,  when  the  bird  is  heard  calling  in 
the  swamps,  it  may  be  seen  dipping  a  twig  or  else 

1  Swett.,  Mai.  Sketches,  pp.  159,  1 60. 


its  bent  leg  into  the  water,  and  accompanying  its 
action  with  its  call,  as  if  it  were  bathing  a  child  on 
its  knee ;  hence  the  Malay  who  hears  its  note  says 
mockingly,  "the  Ruwak-ruwak  is  bathing  its  young 

Tukang  is  the  name  given  in  Kedah  to  a 
kind  of  Hornbill,  which  is  believed  to  be  the  same 
as  the  langlin  of  Perak.  The  horn  is  of  a  yellow 
tinge,  and  is  made  into  buttons,  which,  the  Malays 
say,  turn  to  a  livid  colour  whenever  the  wearer  is 
about  to  fall  sick,  and  black  when  he  is  threatened 
by  the  approach  of  poison.1 

The  Merbu  (?  merbok]  is  a  variety  of  Dove  which 
brings  good  luck  to  its  owner.  Instances  have  been 
known  where  all  the  houses  in  a  village  have  been 
burnt  except  that  which  contained  a  merbu;  indeed, 
treatises  have  been  written  on  the  subject  of  keeping 
them.  When  the  merbu  dies  its  body  merely  shrivels 
up  instead  of  breeding  worms,  which,  it  is  added,  would 
be  worth  keeping  as  curiosities  should  any  appear.2 

The  bird  called  Pedrudang  is  a  diver  which  has 
the  power  of  remaining  under  water  for  a  very  long 
time.  It  is  only  to  be  found  where  the  fish  called 
kelesah  exist  in  large  quantities.  The  eggs  of  the 
kelesah  are  of  great  size,  and  the  Malays  say, 

1  In  Selangor  I  have  heard  a  similar  is  the  luckiest  number  of  scales  for  one 
story  ;  but  in  this  case  it  was  a  red-  of  these  birds  to  possess.     An  example 
crested    hornbill    which    supplied    the  is :      "  Manuk     (3),     Manumah    (5), 
buttons,  which  latter  were  said  to  turn  Sangkesa  (6),  Desa  (i),  Dewa  (4),  Raja 
green  on  the  approach  of  poison.     The  (2),"  which  has  to  be  repeated  as  the 
only  solid-crested  hornbill  is,  I  believe,  scales  are  counted  (beginning  with  the 
the  Rhinoplax.  lowest  scale).     The  numbers  after  the 

2  The  amount  of  luck  which  goes  words  indicate  the  order  of  the  luck 
with  any  particular  bird  of  this  species  which  the  birds  are  supposed  to  bring  ; 
depends  on  the  number  of  scales  on  its  a  ground-dove  of  the  first  order  bring- 
feet,  for  counting  which  certain  verbal  ing   luck  worth  a   ship's   cargo   (tuah 
categories  (like  our  own  "tinker,  tailor,  mtrbok  tuah  sa-kapal).      I   have  kept 
soldier"  formula)  are  used.     Forty-four  these  birds  myself. 


therefore,  that  it  cohabits  with  the  pedrudang.  These 
eggs  are  considered  a  delicacy  by  the  Malays,  who 
make  them  into  a  sort  of  custard  pudding  (sri-kaya). 

To  the  Ground-pigeon  (Tekukur)  belongs  the  fol- 
lowing story:  —  "Once  upon  a  time  there  was  a 
maiden  who  lived  in  the  forest  with  her  parents  and 
little  sister.  When  she  grew  up  she  was  troubled 
by  an  anxiety  to  accompany  her  father  in  his  ex- 
peditions to  the  forest,  where  he  was  engaged  in 
clearing  the  ground  for  a  rice  -  plantation.  Her 
parents,  however,  persuaded  her  to  stay  at  home ; 
first  until  the  trees  were  felled,  then  until  the  fallen 
timber  had  been  burnt  off,  then  till  the  rice  had  been 
planted,  and  then  again  till  it  was  cut.  When, 
however,  they  attempted  to  put  her  off  yet  once 
more,  until  the  rice  should  be  trodden  out,  she 
could  bear  it  no  longer,  and  taking  off  her  bracelets 
and  earrings,  which  she  left  behind  the  door,  and 
placing  her  little  sister  in  the  swinging  -  cot,  she 
changed  herself  into  a  ground-dove  and  flew  away  to 
the  clearing.  [She  retained  her  necklace,  however, 
and  this  accounts  for  the  speckled  marks  on  this 
dove's  neck.]  On  arriving  at  the  spot  where  her 
parents  were  engaged  at  work,  she  alighted  on  a 
dead  tree  stump  (changgong],  and  called  out  thrice  to 
her  mother,  '  Mother,  mother,  I  have  left  my  earrings 
and  bracelets  behind  the  door,  and  have  put  my  little 
sister  in  the  swing.'  Her  mother,  amazed  at  these 
words,  hastened  home,  and  found  her  daughter  gone. 
She  then  returned  to  the  bird,  which  repeated  the 
same  words  as  before,  this  time,  however,  concluding 
with  the  coo  of  a  dove.  In  vain  the  distressed 
parents  endeavoured  to  recapture  her,  by  cutting 
down  the  tree  on  which  she  had  perched ;  before 

v  THE  WEAVER- BIRD  127 

they  had  done  so  she  flew  to  another,  and  after 
following  her  from  tree  to  tree  for  several  miles 
they  were  obliged  to  desist,  and  she  was  never 
recaptured."  1 

The  following  notes  on  birds  are  taken  from  a 
reprint2  of  "Museum  Notes"  by  Mr.  L.  Wray,  jun., 
the  official  curator  of  the  Perak  Museum.  Mr.  Wray 
says  : — 

"  The  Weaver-bird,  which  makes  the  long  hanging 
bottle -shaped  nests  occasionally  seen  hanging  from 
the  branches  of  a  low  tree,  is  said  to  use  a  golden 
needle  in  the  work ;  and  it  is  affirmed  that  if  the 
nest  is  carefully  picked  to  pieces,  without  breaking 
any  part  of  it,  the  needle  will  be  found ;  but  if  it  is 
pulled  ruthlessly  apart,  or  if  even  a  single  piece  of 
the  grass  of  which  it  is  made  is  broken  in  unravelling 
it,  the  golden  needle  will  disappear.  The  makers  of 
these  curious  and  beautiful  nests  are  said  to  always 
choose  trees  that  are  infested  with  red  ants  or  wasps, 
or  which  grow  in  impassable  swamps." 

The  Weaver-bird  (Ploceus  Baya,  Blyth)  is  called 
(in  Selangor)  Burong  Tempua  or  Ckiak  Ray  a.  It  is 
said  to  use  only  the  long  jungle  grass  called  lalang 
for  making  its  nest,  which  latter  is  called  buah  rabun, 
and  is  used  by  the  Malays  for  polishing  sheaths 
and  scabbards.  When  an  infant  keeps  crying, 
one  of  the  parents  takes  the  weaver- bird's  nest, 
reduces  it  to  ashes,  and  fumigates  the  child  by  thrice 
moving  it  round  in  a  circle  over  the  smoke.  Whilst 
doing  so,  the  parent  either  stands  up  with  the  right 
toe  resting  upon  the  toe  of  the  left  foot,  or  else  squats 

•    J  Cp.  the  Malay  pantun  : —  Lagi  lumpor  jala*  sfmak 

Seoao  kasin  maka-nya  datang." 

"  Tfkvkur  di gulti  lemak  2   In  Sel.  Jount.  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  pp. 

Sulasi di-bawak  g,     ne 


upon  the  left  heel,  bending  the  right  knee,  and  saying, 
'  As  the  weaver-bird's  young  in  its  nest,  so  rest  and 
weep  not '  (Bagimana  anak  tempua  dalam  sarang-nya, 
bagitu-lah  'kau  diam  jangan  menangis).  To  the 
above  I  may  add  that  besides  the  ordinary  bottle- 
shaped  nest,  the  weaver-birds  also  occasionally  make 
a  hood-shaped,  or  rather  a  helmet-shaped  nest,  which 
is  alleged  by  the  Malays  to  be  the  male  bird's 
'  swing '  (buayan).  This  '  swing '  resembles  the  upper 
half  of  an  ordinary  bottle-shaped  nest,  with  a  perch 
across  it,  which  latter  is  also  woven  of  grass.  On 
the  walls  of  the  swing,  just  over  each  end  of  the 
perch,  is  a  small  daub  of  clay.  The  Malays  allege 
that  the  male  bird  swings  in  it  while  the  hen  bird 
is  sitting,  and  that  the  young  too  'take  the  air'  in 
it  as  soon  as  they  are  able  to  fly  so  far.  Into  the 
two  daubs  of  mud  over  the  perch  the  male  bird  (say 
the  Malays)  sticks  fire -flies  to  give  itself  light  at 

"  The  King  crow x  is  called  by  the  Malays  the  Slave 
of  the  Monkeys  (Burong  hamba  kra).  It  is  a  pretty, 
active,  noisy  little  bird,  incessantly  flying  about  with 
its  two  long  racquet -shaped  tail  feathers  fluttering 
after  it.  They  say  that  when  it  has  both  of  these 
feathers  it  has  paid  off  its  debt  and  is  free,  but  when 
it  is  either  destitute  of  these  appendages,  or  has  only 
one,  it  is  still  in  bondage. 

"  The  Gray  Sea-eagle 2  is  called  Burong  hamba  siput 
'the  Slave  of  the  Shell-fish,'  and  its  office  is  to  give 
warning  by  screaming  to  the  shell-fish  of  the  changes 
of  the  tide,  so  that  they  may  regulate  their  move- 
ments, and  those  species  which  crawl  about  on  the 
mud  at  low  water  may  know  when  to  take  refuge 

1  Disscmurus  platurus,  Vieill.  2  Halitztus  leucogastcr,  Gm. 


in  the  trees  and  escape  the  rising  tide,  or  when  the 
tide  is  falling,  that  they  may  know  when  to  descend 
to  look  for  food. 

"The  Burong  demam,  or  'Fever  bird,'  is  so  called 
from  its  loud,  tremulous  note,  and  the  Malays  say 
that  the  female  bird  calls  in  its  fever-stricken  voice  to 
its  mate  to  go  and  find  food,  because  it  has  fever  so 
badly  that  it  cannot  go  itself.  This  bird  is  probably 
one  of  the  large  green  barbets.  The  note  is  often 
heard,  and  doubtless  the  bird  has  been  collected,  but  it 
is  one  thing  shooting  a  bird  and  another  identifying  it 
as  the  producer  of  a  certain  note. 

"Another  bird,  the  White-breasted  Water-hen,  a 
frequenter  of  the  edges  of  reedy  pools  and  the  marshy 
banks  of  streams,  is  reputed  to  build  a  nest  on  the 
ground  which  has  the  property  of  rendering  any  one 
invisible  who  puts  it  on  his  head.  The  prevailing  idea 
among  the  Malays  is  that  the  proper  and  legitimate 
use  to  put  it  to  is  to  steal  money  and  other  species  of 

The  next  few  notes  on  Malay  bird-lore  were  col- 
lected by  the  writer  in  Selangor  : — 

The  Toucan  or  small  Hornbill  (Enggang)  was 
metamorphosed  from  a  man  who,  in  conjunction  with 
a  companion,  broke  into  the  house  of  an  old  man  living 
by  himself  in  the  jungle,  and  slew  him  for  the  sake  of 
his  wealth.  When  life  was  extinct  they  threw  a  sheet 
over  the  body,  and  proceeded  to  ransack  the  house, 
throwing  the  loot  into  a  second  sheet  close  to  the 
corpse.  Day  was  about  to  dawn,  when  a  false  alarm 
induced  them  to  make  a  hurried  departure,  so  that 
they  picked  up  the  sheet  with  their  loot  and  made  off 
with  it,  carrying  it  slung  hastily  upon  a  pole  between 
them.  As  they  proceeded  on  their  way  day  commenced 



gradually  to  dawn,  and  the  man  behind  noticing  some- 
thing unexpected  about  the  bundle,  and  divining  the 
cause,  called  out  to  his  companion  "Orangl"  (pr.  o  rang] 
"  The  man  !  "  His  companion,  misunderstanding  his 
exclamation,  thought  he  meant  that  they  were  pursued 
by  "a  man,"  and  only  went  all  the  faster,  until,  on 
hearing  his  comrade  repeat  the  cry  a  second  and  a 
third  time,  he  turned  round,  and  there  saw  the  feet  of 
the  man  he  had  murdered  protruding  from  the  sheet, 
a  sight  which  startled  him  to  such  a  degree  that  he 
turned  into  a  bird  upon  the  spot,  and  flew  away  into  a 
tree,  repeating  as  he  went  the  fatal  cry  of  "O'Rang! 
'Rang  !  "  which  had  caused  the  transformation.  And 
to  this  day,  whenever  the  Malay  hears  among  the  tree- 
tops  the  cry  of  "  'Rang !  'rang  !  "  he  knows  that  he  is 
listening  to  the  cry  of  the  murderer.1 

The  Argus-pheasant 2  and  the  Crow 3  in  the  days  of 
King  Solomon  were  bosom  friends,  and  could  never 
do  enough  to  show  their  mutual  friendship.  One  day, 
however,  the  argus- pheasant,  who  was  then  dressed 
somewhat  dowdily,  suggested  that  his  friend  the  crow 
should  show  his  skill  with  the  brush  by  decorating  his 
(the  argus -pheasant's)  feathers.  To  this  the  crow 
agreed,  on  condition,  however,  that  the  arrangement 
should  be  mutual.  The  argus -pheasant  agreed  to 
this,  and  the  crow  forthwith  set  to  work,  and  so  sur- 
passed himself  that  the  argus-pheasant  became,  as  it 
is  now,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  birds  in  the  world. 
When  the  crow's  task  was  done,  however,  the  argus- 

1  An  old  Malay  (in  Selangor)  once  where  the  latter  did  not  exist,  this  may 

told  me  that  the  hornbill  was  the  king  be  important, 
of  the  birds  until  dispossessed  by  the  2  Jrgus  giganteus,  Temm. 

eagle  (JKajawah).      If,  as  seems  prob- 
able, the  hornbill  was  taken  as  a  sub-  C*™™   ***>    Horsf-   the 

stitute   for   the   frigate-bird  in   places  crow. 


pheasant  refused  to  fulfil  his  own  part  of  the  bargain, 
excusing  himself  on  the  plea  that  the  day  of  judgment 
was  too  near  at  hand.  Hence  a  fierce  quarrel  ensued, 
at  the  end  of  which  the  argus-pheasant  upset  the  ink- 
bottle  over  the  crow,  and  thus  rendered  him  coal- 
black.1  Hence  the  crow  and  the  argus-pheasant  are 
enemies  to  this  day. 

The  bird  called  "  Barau-barau  "  is  said  to  have  once 
been  a  bidan  (midwife)  whose  employers  (anak  bidan] 
refused  to  pay  her  for  her  services,  and  kept  con- 
stantly putting  her  off.  Her  patience,  however,  had 
its  limits,  and  one  day,  after  experiencing  the  usual 
evasion,  she  broke  out  into  a  torrent  of  intemperate 
language,  in  the  midst  of  which  she  was  changed  into 
a  bird,  whose  querulous  note  may  be  recognised  as  the 
voice  of  the  aged  woman  as  she  cries  out  for  the  pay- 
ment of  her  just  wages. 

About  the  big  Kingfisher  (Pekaka)  an  amusing 
parallel  to  the  fable  of  the  Fox  and  the  Crow  is  related. 
It  is  said  that  this  kingfisher  once  caught  a  fish,  and 
flew  to  a  low  branch  just  overhanging  the  water  to 
devour  it.  The  fish,  seeking  for  a  means  to  save  his 
life,  decided  to  try  the  effect  of  a  speech,  and  accord- 
ingly addressed  his  captor  in  the  following  verses, 
judiciously  designed  to  appeal  at  once  to  her  vanity 
and  compassion : — 

"  O  Kingfisher  !  Kingfisher  ! 
What  a  glistening,  glittering  beak ! 
Yet  while  you,  Big  Sister,  are  filling  your  maw, 
Little  Brother  will  lose  his  life." 

At  this  critical  juncture  the  Kingfisher  opens  her  beak 

1  I  believe  that  a  similar  story  exists       turpentine  play  the  part  of  the  ink  in 
in  Siam,  the  Siamese,  however,  making       the  Malay  story. 


to  laugh,  and  the  fish  slips  back  into  his  native  ele- 
ment and  escapes ! 

Fowling  Ceremonies 

Ideas  of  sympathetic  magic  run  very  strongly 
through  all  ceremonies  connected  with  the  taking  of 
wild  birds,  such  for  instance  as  jungle-fowl  or  pigeon. 

The  commonest  method  of  snaring  jungle-fowl  is 
to  take  a  line  (called  rackik),  with  a  great  number  of 
fine  nooses  attached  to  it,  and  set  it  so  as  to  form  a 
complete  circle,  enclosing  an  open  space  in  the  forest. 
You  must  bring  a  decoy-bird  with  you,  and  the  in- 
structions which  I  collected  say  that  you  should  on 
arriving  enter  the  circle,  holding  the  bird  like  a  fight- 
ing cock,  and  repeat  these  lines  : — 

"  Ho,  Si  Lanang,  Si  Tempawi, 
Come  and  let  us  play  at  cock-fighting 
On  the  border-line  between  the  primary  and  secondary 


Your  cock,  Grandsire,  is  spurred  with  steel, 
Mine  is  but  spurred  with  bamboo" 

Here  deposit  the  bird  upon  the  ground.  The  chal- 
lenge of  the  decoy-bird  will  then  attract  the  jungle- 
fowl  from  all  directions,  and  as  they  try  to  enter  the 
circle  (in  order  to  reach  the  decoy),  they  will  entangle 
themselves  in  the  nooses. 

As  often  as  you  succeed,  however,  in  catching  one, 
you  must  be  careful  to  cast  the  "mischief"  out  of  it, 
using  the  same  form  of  words  as  is  used  to  drive  the 
"mischief"  out  of  the  carcase  of  the  deer. 

The  method  of  catching  wild  pigeon  is  much  more 
elaborate,  and  brings  the  animistic  ideas  of  the  Malays 
into  strong  relief,  the  "souls  "  of  the  wild  pigeon  being 
repeatedly  referred  to. 


First  you  build  a  small  sugar-loaf  (conical)  hut  (called 
in  a  carefully  selected  spot  in  the  jungle. 
This  hut  may  be  from  four  to  five  feet  high,  is  strongly 
built  of  stakes  converging  to  a  point  at  the  top,  and 
is  thickly  thatched  with  leaves  and  branches.  The 
reason  for  making  it  strong  is  that  there  is  always  an 
ofT-chance  that  you  may  receive  a  visit  from  a  tiger. 
At  the  back  of  the  hut  you  must  leave  a  small  square 
opening  (it  can  hardly  be  dignified  with  the  name  of  a 
door),  about  two  feet  high  and  with  a  flap  to  it,  through 
which  you  can  creep  into  the  hut  on  your  hands  and 
knees.  [I  may  remark,  parenthetically,  that  you  will 
find  the  hut  very  damp,  very  dark,  and  very  full  of 
mosquitoes,  and  that  if  you  are  wise  you  will  take 
with  you  a  small  stock  of  cigarettes.]  In  front  of  the 
hut,  that  is  to  say,  on  the  side  away  from  the  door,  if 
you  want  to  proceed  in  the  orthodox  way,  you  will 
have  to  clear  a  small  rectangular  space,  and  put  up 
round  it  on  three  sides  (right,  left,  and  front  opposite 
the  hut)  a  low  railing  consisting  of  a  single  bar  about 
1 8  inches  from  the  ground.  This  is  to  rail  off  what  is 
called  "  King  Solomon's  Palace-yard,"  and  will  also  be 
useful  from  a  practical  point  of  view,  as  it  will  serve 
as  a  perch  for  your  "  decoy." * 

The  instructions  proceed  as  follows  : — 
Before   entering    the    hut    the   wizard    must    go 
through  what  is  called  the  "Neutralising  Rice-paste" 

1  Besides  the  hut,  the  necessary  ap-  (3)  A  rod  with  decoy-bird  attached  to 

paratus  consists   of:    (l)   Three   rods  it  (by  means  of  a  string  and  noose  at 

(called ampeian or pinggiran)  laid  across  the  end  of  the  rod).     (4)  A  rod  with 

the  top  of  short  forked  sticks  at  a  height  fine   hair-like   noose   at    the   end,   for 

of  one  or  two  feet  from  the  ground.  snaring  the  wild  pigeon,  and  dragging 

The  whole  space  enclosed  by  these  is  them  into  the  hut.     There  is  a  door  at 

called    King    Solomon's   palace  -  yard  back  of  hut  as  well  as  a  small  door  or 

(halaman).     (2)  The  biiluh  dtkut,  or  opening  in  front  of  hut,  called  pintu 

bamboo  pigeon-call,  from  6  to  8  ft.  in  bangri  (mangsi  or  mansi). 
length,    called    "Prince    Distraction." 


(tepong  tawar]  ceremony,  first  in  the  centre  of  the 
enclosed  space,  and  then  in  each  corner  successively, 
beating  each  of  the  forked  sticks  (uprights)  at  the 
corners  with  a  bunch  of  leaves.  He  must  then  take 
the  decoy -tube,  and  after  reciting  the  appropriate 
charm,  sound  a  long-drawn  note  in  each  corner  succes- 
sively, and  then  insert  the  mouth-end  of  it  into  the  hut 
through  a  hole  in  the  thatch,  supporting  the  heavy 
outer  end  upon  a  forked  upright  stick.  Then  entering 
the  hut,  he  slips  the  noose  at  the  end  of  the  decoy- 
bird's  rod  on  to  the  decoy -bird's  feet,  and  pushing 
the  bird  out  through  the  front  door  of  the  hut,  makes 
it  flutter  on  to  one  of  the  horizontal  rods,  where 
it  will  sit,  if  well  trained,  and  call  its  companions. 
After  a  time  the  decoy -bird's  challenge  is  met  by 
first  one  and  then  many  counter  challenges,  then  the 
wild  pigeon  approach,  there  is  a  great  fluttering  of 
wings,  and  presently  one  of  the  first  arrivals  flies  down 
and  commences  to  walk  round  and  round  the  hut. 
Then  the  wizard  awaits  his  opportunity,  and  as  the 
pigeon  passes  in  front  of  the  door  he  pushes  out 
one  of  the  rods  with  a  noose  at  the  end,  slips 
the  noose  over  the  bird's  neck  or  feet,  and  drags  it 
into  the  hut. 

The  hut  must  be  used,  if  possible,  before  the  leaves 
with  which  it  is  thatched  have  faded,  as  the  wild 
pigeon  are  less  likely  to  be  suspicious  of  the  hut  when 
its  thatch  is  green. 

In  the  way  just  described  any  number  of  pigeon 
can  be  taken,  a  bag  of  twenty  or  thirty  being 
a  fair  average  for  a  day's  work  under  favourable 

The  "  call  "  will  occasionally,  for  some  unexplained 
reason,  attract  to  the  spot  wild  animals  such  as  deer 


(especially  mouse-deer)  and  tigers.  Is  it  not  possible 
that  the  story  of  the  lute  of  Orpheus  may  have  had  its 
origin  in  some  old  hunting  custom  of  the  kind  ? 

The  following  are  specimens  of  the  charms  used 
by  the  wizard : — 

When  you  are  about  to  start  (to  decoy  pigeons) 

"  It  is  not  I  who  am  setting  out, 
It  is  Toh  Bujang  Sibor l  who  is  setting  out." 

Then  sound  the  decoy-tube  (buluh  dekut)  thrice 
loudly,  and  say — 

"  I  pray  that  they  (the  pigeon)  may  come  in  procession,  come  in 

To  enter  into  this  bundle  2  of  ours." 

Now  set  out,  and  when  you  reach  the  conical  hut 
(bumbun)  say — 

"  My  hut's  name  is  the  Magic  Prince, 
My  decoy's  name  is  Prince  Distraction, 
Distraught  be  ye,  O  Kapor  3  (pigeon), 
Distraught  be  ye,  O  Puding  3  (pigeon), 
Distraught  be  ye,  O  Sarap  3  (pigeon), 
Distraught  (with  desire)  to  enter  our  bundle." 

Or  else  when  you  first  reach  the  hut,  "take  the 
(leaves  of)  the  branch  of  a  tree  which  is  as  high  as 
your  head,  the  leaves  of  the  branch  of  a  tree  which  is 
as  high  as  your  waist,  the  leaves  of  the  branch  of  a  tree 
which  is  as  high  as  your  knee,  and  the  leaves  of  a  tree 
which  is  only  as  high  as  your  ankle-joint.  Make  them 

1  Bujang  Sibor  literally  means  the  the  names  of  three  varieties  of  pigeon, 
"Bachelor     (i.e.     solitary)    Scooper."  generally  styled   "princesses"  in    the 
The  name  has  no  doubt  been  chosen  charms  used  by  pigeon-catchers.    Their 
because   it   is   thought   to   be    lucky,  names  are  also  given  as  Bujang  Kapor, 
possibly  because  it  suggests  "  scooping  (the  Solitary  Kapor),  Lela  Puding  (?), 
in  "  (birds).  and   Dayang  Sarap  (the  Handmaiden 

2  Vide  App.  xxxii.  Sarap). 

3  Kapor,    Puding,    and    Sarap,    are 


all  into  a  bunch,  and  with  them  "flick"  the  outside  of 
the  hut,  saying  these  lines — 

"  Dok  Ding  [stands  for  the]  '  Do'ding  '  Pigeon, 
Which  makes  three  with  the  Madukara  Pigeon, 
The  twig  breaks,  and  the  twig  is  pressed  down, 
And  our  immemorial  customs  are  restored." 

When  scattering  the  rice,  say — 

"  Sift,  sift  the  broken  rice-ends, 
Sift  them  over  the  rush-work  rice-bag, 
As  one  disappears  another  is  invited, 
Invited  and  brought  down. 

If  you  descend  not,  the  Bear-cat  (Binturong)  shall  devour  you, 
If  you  come  not,  wild  beasts  shall  devour  you, 
And  if  you  perch  on  a  twig,  you  shall  fall  headlong, 
If  you  perch  on  a  bough,  you  shall  be  killed  by  a  woodcutter, 
If  you  perch  on  a  leaf,  you  shall  be  bitten  by  the  leaf-snake, 
If  you   descend  to  the  ground,  you   shall   be  bitten   by  a 

venomous  serpent, 
If  you  fly  upwards,  you  shall  be  swooped  upon  by  kites  and 


(That  is)  if  you  descend  not. 
Cluck,  cluck !  souls  of  Queen  Kapor,  of  Princess  Puding,  and 

Handmaid  Sarap. 

Come  down  and  assemble  in  King  Solomon's  audience-hall, 
And  put  on  King  Solomon's  breast-ornaments  and  armlets." 

When  sprinkling  the  rice-paste  (tepong  tawar)  on 
the  uprights  at  each  corner  of  the  railed-off  enclosure, 
say — 

"  Neutralising  rice-paste,  genuine  rice-paste, 
Add  plumpness  to  plumpness, 

Let  pigeon  come  down  to  the  weight  of  thousands  of  pounds, 
And  alight  upon  the  Ivory  Hall, 
Which  is  carpeted  with  silver,   and  whose  railings  are  of 

Unto  the  dishes  of  Her  Highness  Princess  Lebar  Nyiru 


Come  in  procession,  come  (in  succession), 
The  '  assembly-flower '  begins  to  unfold  its  petals, 
Come  down  in  procession,  come  down  as  stragglers, 
King  Solomon's  self  has  come  to  call  you. 


Sift,  sift  (the  rice)  over  the  rice-bag, 

King  Solomon's  self  bids  you  haste. 

Sift,  sift  the  rice-ends, 

Sift  them  over  the  rush-work  bag. 

As  one  disappears  another  is  invited, 

Is  invited  and  escorted  down. 

Sift,  sift  the  rice-ends, 

Sift  them  over  the  salt-bag, 

As  one  disappears  another  is  invited, 

And  escorted  inside  (the  hut)." 

When  you  are  sounding  the  call  (melaung),  stand 
in  the  middle  of  the  enclosure  and  say  : — 

"  Cluck,  cluck !  soul  of  Princess  Puding,  of  Queen  Kapor,  and 

Queen  Sarap, 
Enter  ye  into  our  Bundle, 
And  perch  upon  the  Ivory  Railing. 
Come  in  procession,  come  in  succession, 
The  assembly-flower  unfolds  its  petals. 
Come  down  in  procession,  come  down  in  succession, 
King  Solomon's  self  is  come  to  call  you. 
If  you  do  not  come  down,  the  Bear-cat  shall  eat  you, 
If  you  do  not  appear,  wild  beasts  shall  devour  you, 
If  you  perch  upon  a  twig,  you  shall  fall  headlong 
(All  over)  the  seven  valleys  and  seven  knolls  of  rising  ground. 
If  ye  go  to  the  hills,  ye  shall  get  no  food  ; 
If  ye  go  to  the  forest-pools,  ye  shall  get  no  drink." 

Or  else  the  following : — 

"  Cut  the  mengkudu  J  branch, 
Cut  it  (through)  and  thrust  it  downwards. 
Let  those  which  are  near  be  the  first  to  arrive, 
And  those  which  are  far  off  be  sent  for, 
Let  those  which  have  eggs,  leave  their  eggs, 
And  those  which  have  young,  desert  their  young, 
Let  those  which  are  blind,  come  led  by  others, 
And  those  which  have  broken  limbs,  come  on  crutches. 
Come  and  assemble  in  King  Solomon's  audience-hall. 
Cluck,  cluck !  souls  of  Queen  Kapor,  Princess  Puding,  Hand- 
maid Sarap, 

1  The  mengkudu  is  a  Malay  forest  tree  (Morinda  tinctoria}. 


Come  down  and  assemble  in  King  Solomon's  audience-hall, 
And  put  on  King  Solomon's  necklace  (breast-ornaments)  and 

When  about  to  enter  the  hut  say — 

"  [Hearken],  O  Hearts  of  Wild  Doves, 
Cut  we  the  Rod  of  Invitation, 
This  hut  is  named  the  Magic  Prince, 
This  tube  is  named  Prince  Distraction, 
Distraught  (be  ye)  by  day,  distraught  by  night, 
Distraught  (with  longing)  to  assemble  in  King  Solomon's  Hall, 
Cluck,  cluck  !  souls  of  Queen  Kapor,"  etc.  (as  before).2 

When  you  have  just  entered,  and  before  you  seat 
yourself,  say — 

"  Sift,  sift  the  rice-ends, 
Sift  them  over  a  rush-work  rice-bag,"  etc.  (as  before). 

Put  your  lips  to  the  decoy-tube,  and  sound  the  call, 
saying — 

"  Cut  the  mengkudu  stem ; 
Cut  it  (through)  and  thrust  it  downwards,"  etc.  (as  before). 

(or  else  some  longer  version,  such  as  one  of  those 
given  in  the  Appendix).  When  the  wild  pigeon  have 
arrived  and  have  entered  the  enclosure  or  "  Palace- 
yard,"  wait  till  they  are  in  a  good  position,  and  then 
push  out  one  of  the  rods  with  the  fine  noose  at  the 
end,  slip  the  noose  over  the  bird's  neck,  and  drag  it 
into  the  house,  saying  as  you  do  so — 

1  An  alternative  version  runs  : —  2  Another  version  has  : — 

cffi'rfSSwifeu  Thist.shn°?.t  °f  a  creeper  is " prince  invita- 

Over  the  seven  valleys,  seven  knolls  of  rising  Th;s  hut'  k  ca,led  tfae  Magic  prmce 

Re-efhothe  voice  of  my  decoy.  This  decoy  is  called  PHnCe  Distracti°n" 

Come  down,  Queen  Kapor,  Queen  Puding,  _.  _    .     ,T   ..     ,r            .,          ",,..*r*\  4e  tVi» 

Handmaid  Sampah,  Si  Raja  Nyila  (from  sila,  menytla)  is  the 

With  one  hundred  and  ninety  others.  name  given  to  the  long  slender  rods 

Come  down  to  this  spot  I  stand  on.  ith  fine  hajr_iike  nooses  at  the  end 

Come  down  from  the  north,  .  j        j 

Come  down  from  the  south,  with  which  the  pigeons  are  snared  and 

Come  down  from  the  east,  dragged  into  the  hut  (vide  App.  xli. ) 

Come  down  from  the  west. 

v  FIGURA  77  VE  NOMENCLA  TURE  1 39 

"  Wak-wak  [stands  for]  a  heron  on  the  kitchen  shelf, 
Covered  over  with  the  top  of  a  cocoa-nut  shell, 
Do  you  move  aside,  Sir  Bachelor,  Master  of  the  Ceremonies, 
I  wish  to  ensnare  the  necks  of  the  race  of  wild  doves." 

Now  that  you  understand  the  process  of  decoying 
pigeon  with  a  pigeon-call,  I  must  explain  something  of 
the  curious  nomenclature  used  by  the  wizard ;  for  dur- 
ing the  ceremony  you  must  never  call  a  spade  a  spade. 
In  the  first  place,  the  hut  must  not  on  any  account  be 
mentioned  as  such  :  it  is  to  be  called  the  Magic  Prince 
—why  so  called,  it  is  hard  to  say,  but  most  likely  the 
name  is  used  in  allusion  to  the  wizard  who  is  concealed 
inside  it.  The  name  given  to  the  calling-tube  itself  is 
more  appropriate,  as  it  is  called  "  Prince  Distraction  " 
(Raja  Gila),  this  name  of  course  being  an  allusion 
to  the  extraordinary  fascination  which  it  evidently 
exercises  on  the  pigeon.  Then  the  decoy  (or  rather, 
perhaps,  the  rod  to  which  it  is  linked)  is  called 
Putri  Pemonggo',  or  the  Squatting  Princess.  Next 
to  these  come  three  Princesses  which  prove  to 
be  merely  the  representatives  of  three  important 
species  of  wild  pigeon.  Their  names,  though 
variously  given,  are  perhaps  most  commonly  known 
as  Princess  "  Kapor,"  Princess  "Sarap,"  and  Princess 
"  Puding." 

Finally,  even  the  rod  used  for  ensnaring  the  pigeon 
has  its  own  special  name,  Si  Raja  Nyila  (Prince  In- 

"  King  Solomon's  necklaces  "  and  armlets  are  of 
course  the  nooses  with  which  they  are  to  be  snared, 
and  which  will  catch  them  either  by  the  neck  or  by 
the  leg. 

The  Princesses  are  invited  to  enter  a  gorgeous 
palace : — 


"  Come  down,  pigeons,  in  your  myriads, 
And  perch  upon  the  '  Ivory  Hall,' 
(That  is)  carpeted  with  silver,  and  railed  with  amalgam, 
(Come  down)  to  the  dishes  of  Her  Highness  Princess    Lebar 
Nyiru  (Broad-sieve)."1 

The  "dishes  of  Her  Highness  Princess  Broad- 
sieve  "  cleverly  suggest  an  abundance  of  provender 
such  as  is  likely  to  appeal  to  a  hungry  bird ! 

In  another  version  the  three  Princesses  are  in- 
vited to  enter  the  "Palace  Tower"  called  "  Fatimah 
Passes"  (Mahaligei  Fatimah  Lalu). 

Moreover  those  who  issue  the  invitation  are  no 
respecters  of  persons  : — 

"  Let  those  which  are  near,  arrive  the  first, 
Let  those  which  are  far  off  be  sent  for, 
Let  those  which  have  eggs,  leave  their  eggs, 
Those  which  have  young,  leave  their  young, 
Those  which  are  blind,  be  led  by  others, 
Those  which  have  broken  limbs,  come  on  crutches ; 
Come  and  assemble  in  King  Solomon's  Audience-Chamber."  5 

And  a  similar  passage  in  another  charm  says — 

"  Let  those  which  are  near,  arrive  the  first, 
Let  those  which  are  far  off  be  sent  for, 
Cluck  !  cluck  !  souls  of  the  children  of  forest  doves, 
Come  ye  down  and  assemble  together 
In  the  fold  of  God  and  King  Solomon." 

If  blandishments  fail,  however,  there  is  to  be  no 
doubt  about  the  punishments  in  store  for  their  wilful 
Highnesses  :  thus,  a  little  later,  we  find  the  alternative, 
a  thoroughgoing  imprecation  calculated  to  "convince" 
the  most  headstrong  of  birds  : — 

"  I  call  you,  I  fetch  you  down, 
If  you  come  not  down  you  shall  be  eaten  by  the  Bear-cat, 

Vide  App.  xxxvii.  2   Vide  App.  xlv. 


You  shall  be  choked  to  death  with  your  own  feathers, 
You  shall  be  choked  to  death  with  a  bone  in  your  throat. 
If  you  perch  on  a  creeper  you  shall  be  entangled  by  it, 
If  you  settle  on  a  leaf  you  shall  be  bitten  by  the  '  leaf  snake,' 
Come  you  down  quickly  to  God's  fold  and  King  Solomon's." 

And  an  imprecation  of  similar  import  says— 

"  [If  you  do  not  come  down,  the  Bear-cat  shall  eat  you], 
If  you  perch  on  a  bough,  you  shall  slip  off  it, 
If  you  perch  on  a  creeper,  you  shall  slide  off  it, 
If  you  perch  upon  a  leafless  stump,  the  stump  shall  fall ; 
If  you  settle  on  the  ground,  the  ground-snake  shall  bite  you, 
If  you  soar  up  to  heaven,  the  eagle  shall  swoop  upon  you." 

(b)  Earth 


The  first  operation  in  building  is  the  selection  of 
the  site.  This  is  determined  by  an  elaborate  code  of 
rules  which  make  the  choice  depend — firstly,  upon 
the  nature  of  the  soil  with  respect  to  colour,  taste,  and 
smell ;  secondly,  upon  the  formation  of  its  surface  ;  and, 
thirdly,  upon  its  aspect : — 

"  The  best  soil,  whether  for  a  house,  village,  orchard, 
or  town,  is  a  greenish  yellow,  fragrant-scented,  tart- 
tasting  loam  :  such  a  soil  will  ensure  abundance  of  gold 
and  silver  unto  the  third  generation.1 

"The  best  site,  whether  for  a  house,  village, 
orchard,  or  town,  is  level.2 

"The  best  aspect  (of  the  surface)  is  that  of  land 
which  is  low  upon  the  north  side  and  high  upon  the 
south  side :  such  a  site  will  bring  absolute  peace- 
fulness."  8 

1  Vide  App.  xlvii.  faces  southwards  there  will  be  no  luck 

2  Ibid.  in  the  house  and   everything  will  go 

3  Ibid.     Note  that  the  house-door  wrong.— -J.R.A. S.,  S.£.,  No.   30,  p. 
must  not  face  towards  the  south  ;  if  it  306.      Vide  App.  Iv. 

142  EARTH  CHAP. 

When  you  have  found  a  site  complying  with  more 
or  less  favourable  conditions,  in  accordance  with  the 
code,  you  must  next  clear  the  ground  of  forest  or 
undergrowth,  lay  down  four  sticks  to  form  a  rect- 
angle in  the  centre  thereof,  and  call  upon  the  name 
of  the  lords  of  that  spot  (i.e.  the  presiding  local  deities 
or  spirits).  Now  dig  up  the  soil  (enclosed  by  the  four 
sticks),  and  taking  a  clod  in  your  hand,  call  upon  the 
lords  of  that  spot  as  follows  : — 

"  Ho,  children  of  Mentri l  Guru, 
Who  dwell  in  the  Four  Corners  of  the  World, 
I  crave  this  plot  as  a  boon." 

(Here  mention  the  purpose  to  which  you  wish  to  put  it.) 

"  If  it  is  good,  show  me  a  good  omen, 
If  it  is  bad,  show  me  a  bad  omen."  z 

Wrap  the  clod  up  in  white  cloth,  and  after  fumi- 
gating it  with  incense,  place  it  at  night  beneath  your 
pillow,  and  when  you  retire  to  rest  repeat  the  last  two 
lines  of  the  above  charm  as  before  and  go  to  sleep. 
If  your  dream  is  good  proceed  with,  if  bad  desist 
from,  your  operations.  Supposing  your  dream  to  be 
"good,"  you  must  (approximately)  clear  the  site  of 
the  main  building  and  peg  out  the  four  corners  with 
dead  sticks ;  then  take  a  dead  branch  and  heap  it 
up  lightly  with  earth  (in  the  centre  of  the  site  ?) ;  set 
fire  to  it,  and  when  the  whole  heap  has  been  reduced 
to  ashes,  sweep  it  all  up  together  and  cover  it  over 
while  you  repeat  the  charm  (which  differs  but  little 
from  that  given  above).  Next  morning  uncover  it 
early  in  the  morning  and  God  will  show  you  the  good 
and  the  bad. 

1  Perhaps  a  corruption  of  "Bgntara,"       charms     a    few    pages     farther    on), 
or  Batara,  Guru  (i.e.   Shiva),  which  is       "  MSntri "  usually  means  "minister." 
what  we  should  here  expect  (vide  the  2   Vide  App.  xlvii. 


The  site  being  finally  selected,  you  must  proceed 
to  choose  a  day  for  erecting  the  central  house-post,  by 
consulting  first  the  schedule  of  lucky  and  unlucky 
months,  and  next  the  schedule  of  lucky  and  unlucky 
days  of  the  week.1 

[The  best  time  of  day  for  the  operation  to  take  place 
is  said  to  be  always  seven  o'clock  in  the  morning. 
Hence  there  seems  to  be  no  need  to  consult  a  schedule 
to  discover  it,  though  some  magicians  may  do  so.] 

The  propitious  moment  having  been  at  last  ascer- 
tained, the  erection  of  the  centre-post  will  be  proceeded 
with.  First,  the  hole  for  its  reception  must  be  dug 
(the  operation  being  accompanied  by  the  recital  of  a 
charm)  and  the  post  erected,  the  greatest  precautions 
being  taken  to  prevent  the  shadow  of  any  of  the 
workers  from  falling  either  upon  the  post  itself  or  upon 
the  hole  dug  to  receive  it,  sickness  and  trouble  being 
otherwise  sure  to  follow.2 

[The  account  in  the  Appendix,  of  which  the  above 
is  a  rdsumd,  omits  to  describe  the  sacrifice  which  has 
to  be  made  before  the  erection  of  the  centre-post,  which 
has  therefore  been  drawn  from  the  instructions  of  other 

"  When  the  hole  has  been  dug  and  before  the  centre- 
post  is  actually  erected,  some  sort  of  sacrifice  or  offer- 
ing has  to  be  made.  First  you  take  a  little  brazilwood 
(kayu  sepang],  a  little  ebony-wood  (kayu  arang),  a  little 
assafcetida  (inggu),  and  a  little  scrap-iron  (tahi  besi\ 
and  deposit  them  in  the  hole  which  you  have  dug. 
Then  take  a  fowl,3  a  goat,  or  a  buffalo  [according  to 

*  As  to  lucky  and  unlucky   times,  pected  on  the  part  of  the  earth-spirit, 

v ide  Chap.  VI.  pp.  54S-55°»  infra.  even  an   egg  (as  the  "symbol"  of  a 

2  Cp.  pp.  244-245,  248,  infra.  fowl)  may  be  sufficient  as  a  sacrifice. 

3  In  a  case  where  no  trouble  is  ex- 


the  ascertained  or  reputed  malignity  of  the  locally  pre- 
siding earth-demon  (puaka)\,  and  cut  its  throat  accord- 
ing to  Muhammadan  custom,  spilling  its  blood  into  the 
hole.  Then  cut  off  its  head  and  feet,  and  deposit  them 
within  the  hole  to  serve  as  a  foundation  for  the  centre- 
post  to  rest  upon  (buat  lapik  tiang  sri}.  Put  a  ring 
on  your  little  finger  out  of  compliment  to  the  earth- 
spirit  (akan  membujok  jembalang  ztu),  repeat  the 
charm *  and  erect  the  post."  2 

Another  form  of  the  above  ceremony  was  described 
to  me  by  a  magician  as  follows  : — 

"  Deposit  in  the  hole  a  little  scrap-iron  and  tin-ore, 
a  candle  nut  (buah  kras  or  buah  gorek],  a  broken 
hatchet  head  (b'liong  patak),  and  a  cent  (in  copper). 
Wait  till  everybody  else  has  returned  home,  and, 
standing  close  to  the  hole,  pick  up  three  clods  (kefial} 
of  earth,  hold  them  (genggam)  over  the  incense,  turn 
'  right-about-face '  and  repeat  the  charm.8  Then  take 
the  three  clods  home  (without  once  turning  round  to 
look  behind  you  till  you  reach  home),  place  them  under 
your  sleeping  pillow  and  wait  till  nightfall,  when  you 
may  have  either  a  good  or  a  bad  dream.  If  the  first 
night's  dream  be  bad,  throw  away  one  of  the  clods 
and  dream  again.  If  the  second  night's  dream  be 

1  Vide  App.  1.  substituted  (the   goat,  fowl,    and    egg 

2  An  alternative  method   was   thus  representing   further   successive  stages 
described  to  me  by  a  magician  :  Take  in  the  depreciation  of  the  rite).      Malays 
a  white  cup,  fill  it  with  water,  fumigate  on  the  Selangor  coast  more  than  once 
it  with  incense,  and  deposit  it  in  the  told  me  they  had  heard  that  the  Govern- 
hole   dug   to  receive  the  centre-post.  ment  was  in  the  habit  of  burying  a 
Early  next  morning  take  note  of  it ;  if  human  head   under  the  foundations  of 
it  is  still  full  of  water,  it  is  a  good  sign  ;  any  unusually   large  structure   (e.g.    a 
if  the  water  has  wasted  (sustit),  a  bad  bridge),  and  two  cases  where  a  local 
one.     If  live  insects  are  found  in  it,  scare  resulted  from  the  prevalence  of 
it  is   a  good  sign,  if  dead   ones,  bad.  this   idea  were  recorded   in  the   local 
There  can,   however,   be   little   doubt  press    (the    Malay    Mail)    in    1897. 
that  the  original  victim  of  this  sacrifice  For  similar  traditions  of  human  sacrifice, 
was  a  human  victim  (generally  perhaps  vide  p.  2 1 1  infra. 

a  slave),    for   whom   the   buffalo  was  3   Vide  App.  Hi. 


bad,  repeat  the  process,  and  whenever  you  get  a  good 
dream  deposit  the  clod  or  clods  under  the  butt-end 
of  the  centre-post  to  serve  as  a  foundation." 

A  magician  gave  me  this  specimen  of  a  charm 
used  at  this  ceremony  (of  erecting  the  centre-post)  :— 

"  Ho,  Raja  Guru,  Maharaja  Guru, 
You  are  the  sons  of  Batara  Guru. 
I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  spring, 
From  the  Flashing  of  Lightning's  spurs  ; 
I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  spring, 
From  the  Brightening  of  Daybreak. 
Ho,  Spectre  of  the  Earth,  Brains  of  the  Earth,  Demon  of  the 


Retire  ye  hence  to  the  depths  of  the  Ocean, 
To  the  peace  of  the  primeval  forest. 
Betwixt  you  and  me 
Division  was  made  by  Adam." 

Another  rule  of  importance  in  house-building  is 
that  which  regulates  the  length  of  the  threshold,  as 
to  which  the  instructions  are  as  follows  :  — 

"  Measure  off  (on  a  piece  of  string)  the  stretch 
(fathom)  of  the  arms  of  her  who  is  to  be  mistress  of 
the  proposed  house.  Fold  this  string  in  three  and 
cut  off  one  third.  Take  the  remainder,  fold  it  in  eight 
and  cut  off  seven-eighths.  Take  the  remaining  eighth, 
see  how  many  times  it  is  contained  in  the  length  of 
the  threshold,  and  check  off  the  number  (of  these 
measurements)  against  the  "category"  (bilangan)  of 
the  "eight  beasts"1  (benatang  yang  cTlapan}.  This 
category  runs  as  follows  :  —  (i)  The  dragon  (naga)  ;  .(2) 
the  dairy-cow  (sapi)  ;  (3)  the  lion  (singa]  ;  (4)  the  dog 
fan/ing)  ;  (5)  the  draught  -cow  (lembu)  ;  (6)  the  ass 
(kaldei)  ;  (7)  the  elephant  (gajah\  and  (8)  the  crow 
\  all  of  which  have  certain  ominous  significa- 

1  For  other  "categories"  vide  p.  559,  infra. 


tions.  If  the  last  measurement  coincides  with  one  of 
the  unlucky  beasts  in  the  category,  such  as  the  crow 
(which  signifies  the  death  of  the  master  of  the  house), 
the  threshold  is  cut  shorter  to  make  it  fit  in  with  one 
that  is  more  auspicious."1 

The  names  of  the  "eight  beasts,"  coupled  with  the 
events  which  they  are  supposed  to  foreshadow,  are 
often  commemorated  in  rhyming  stanzas. 

Here  is  a  specimen  : — . 

I. — The  Dragon  (naga). 

"  A  dragon  of  bulk,  a  monster  dragon, 
Is  this  dragon  that  turns  round  month  by  month.2 
Wherever  you  go  you  will  be  safe  from  stumbling-blocks, 
And  all  who  meet  you  will  be  your  friends." 

II. — The  Dairy-Cow  (sapi). 

"  There  is  the  smoke  of  a  fire  in  the  forest, 
Where  Inche  'Ali  is  burning  lime ; 
They  were  milking  the  young  dairy-cow, 
And  in  the  midst  of  the  milking  it  sprawled  and  fell  down 

III. — The  Lion  (singa). 

"  A  lion  of  courage,  a  lion  of  valour, 
Is  the  lion  gambolling  at  the  end  of  the  Point. 
The  luck  of  this  house  will  be  lasting, 
Bringing  you  prosperity  from  year  to  year." 

IV. —  The  Dog  (anjing). 

"  The  wild  dog,  the  jackal, 
Barks  at  the  deer  from  night  to  night ; 
Whatever  you  do  will  be  a  stumbling-block ; 
In  this  house  men  will  stab  one  another." 

1  Another  form  of  measurement  was  2  This  probably  refers  to  the  mystic 

from  the  threshold  (of  the  front  door)  Dragon    which    does    duty   (in    Malay 

to    the    end    of   the    house ;    but    the  charm-books)  as  an  "  aspect  compass. " 

method  of  augury  in  this  case  is  not  Vide   Chap.   VI.    p.    561,  infra,    and 

yet  quite  clear.  App.  cclvii. 


V. — The  Draught-  Cow  (l£mbu). 

"  The  big  cow  from  the  middle  of  the  clearing 
Has  gone  to  the  Deep  Forest  to  calve  there. 
Great  good  luck  will  be  your  portion, 
Never  will  you  cease  to  be  prosperous." 

VI.— The  Ass  (kaldei). 

"  The  ass  within  the  Fort 
Carries  grass  from  morn  to  eve  ; 
Whatever  you  pray  for  will  not  be  granted, 
Though  big  your  capital,  the  half  will  be  lost." 

VII.— The  Elephant  (gajah). 

"The  big  riding  elephant  of  the  Sultan 
Has  its  tusks  covered  with  amalgam. 
Good  luck  is  your  portion, 
No  harm  or  blemish  will  you  suffer." 

VIII. — The  Crow  (gagak). 

"  A  black  crow  soaring  by  night 
Has  perched  on  the  house  of  the  great  Magic  Prince  ; 
Great  indeed  is  the  calamity  which  has  happened : 
Within  the  house  its  master  lies  dead." 

In  close  connection  with  the  ceremonies  for  the 
selection  of  individual  house  sites  are  the  forms  by 
which  the  princes  of  Malay  tradition  selected  sites 
for  the  towns  which  they  founded.  The  following 
extract  will  perhaps  convey  some  idea  of  their 
character :  — 

"  One  day  Raja  Marong  Maha  Podisat  went  into 
his  outer  audience  hall,  where  all  his  ministers, 
warriors,  and  officers  were  in  attendance,  and  com- 
manded the  four  Mantris  to  equip  an  expedition 
with  all  the  necessary  officers  and  armed  men,  and 
with  horses  and  elephants,  arms  and  accoutrements. 
The  four  Mantris  did  as  they  were  ordered,  and  when 


all  was  ready  they  informed  the  Raja.  The  latter 
waited  for  a  lucky  day  and  an  auspicious  moment, 
and  then  desired  his  second  son  to  set  out.  The 
Prince  took  leave  after  saluting  his  father  and  mother, 
and  all  the  ministers,  officers,  and  warriors  who  fol- 
lowed him  performed  obeisance  before  the  Raja. 
They  then  set  out  in  search  of  a  place  of  settlement, 
directing  their  course  between  south  and  east,  intend- 
ing to  select  a  place  with  good  soil,  and  there  to  build 
a  town  with  fort,  moat,  palace,  and  balei.1  They 
amused  themselves  in  every  forest,  wood,  and  thicket 
through  which  they  passed,  crossing  numbers  of  hills 
and  mountains,  and  stopping  here  and  there  to  hunt 
wild  beasts,  or  to  fish  if  they  happened  to  fall  in  with 
a  pool  or  lake. 

"After  they  had  pursued  their  quest  for  some 
time  they  came  to  the  tributary  of  a  large  river 
which  flowed  down  to  the  sea.  Farther  on  they 
came  to  a  large  sheet  of  water,  in  the  midst  of  which 
were  four  islands.  The  Prince  was  much  pleased 
with  the  appearance  of  the  islands,  and  straightway 
took  a  silver  arrow  and  fitted  it  to  his  bow  named 
Indra  Sakti,  and  said  :  '  O  arrow  of  the  bow  Indra 
Sakti,  fall  thou  on  good  soil  in  this  group  of  islands  ; 
wherever  thou  mayest  chance  to  fall,  there  will  I 
make  a  palace  in  which  to  live.'  He  then  drew  his 
bow  and  discharged  the  arrow,  which  flew  upwards 
with  the  rapidity  of  lightning,  and  with  a  humming 
sound  like  that  made  by  a  beetle  as  it  flies  round  a 
flower,  and  went  out  of  sight.  Presently  it  came  in 
sight  again,  and  fell  upon  one  of  the  islands,  which 
on  that  account  was  called  Pulau  Indra  Sakti.  On 
that  spot  was  erected  a  town  with  fort,  palace,  and 

1  Audience  hall. 


balei,  and  all  the  people  who  were  living  scattered 
about  in  the  vicinity  were  collected  together  and  set 
to  work  on  the  various  buildings." 

Even  in  the  making  of  roads  through  the 
forest  it  would  appear  that  sacrificial  ceremonies 
are  not  invariably  neglected.  On  one  occasion  I 
came  upon  a  party  of  Malays  in  the  Labu  jungle 
who  were  engaged  in  making  a  bridle-track  for  the 
Selangor  Government.  A  small  bamboo  censer,  on 
which  incense  had  been  burning,  had  been  erected 
in  the  middle  of  the  trace ;  and  I  was  informed  that 
the  necessary  rites  (for  exorcising  the  demons  from 
the  trace)  had  just  been  successfully  concluded. 


All  wild  animals,  more  especially  the  larger  and 
more  dangerous  species,  are  credited  in  Malay  folk- 
lore with  human  or  (occasionally)  superhuman  powers. 

In  the  pages  which  now  follow  I  shall  deal  with  the 
folklore  which  refers  to  the  more  important  animals, 
first  pointing  out  their  anthropomorphic  traits,  then 
detailing  some  of  the  more  important  traditions 
about  them,  and  finally,  where  possible,  describing  the 
methods  of  hunting  them. 

The  Elephant 

Of  the  Elephant  we  read  :— 

"The  superstitious  dread  entertained  by  Malays 
for  the  larger  animals  is  the  result  of  ideas  regarding 

1  J.R.A.S.,S.B.y  No.  9,  pp.  85,  86.  sattva)    indicates    Indo-Chinese    Bud- 

This  is  an  extract  from   the   Marong  dhist  influence.     It  does  not  seem  to 

Mahawangsa,  the  legendary  history  of  occur   elsewhere    in   Malay  literature, 

Kedah,  a  State  bordering  on   Lower  though  Buddhism  flourished  in  Sumatra 

Siam.     The  name  Podisat  (i.e.  Bodhi-  in  the  seventh  century  A.D. 


them  which  have  been  inherited  from  the  primitive 
tribes  of  Eastern  Asia.  Muhammadanism  has  not 
been  able  to  stamp  out  the  deep-rooted  feelings  which 
prompted  the  savage  to  invest  the  wild  beasts  which 
he  dreaded  with  the  character  of  malignant  deities. 
The  tiger,  elephant,  and  rhinoceros l  were  not  mere 
brutes  to  be  attacked  and  destroyed.  The  immense 
advantages  which  their  strength  and  bulk  gave  them 
over  the  feebly-armed  savage  of  the  most  primitive 
tribes  naturally  suggested  the  possession  of  super- 
natural powers  ;  and  propitiation,  not  force,  was  the 
system  by  which  it  was  hoped  to  repel  them.  The 
Malay  addresses  the  tiger  as  Datoh  (grandfather),  and 
believes  that  many  tigers  are  inhabited  by  human 
souls.  Though  he  reduces  the  elephant  to  subjection, 
and  uses  him  as  a  beast  of  burden,  it  is  universally 
believed  that  the  observance  of  particular  ceremonies, 
and  the  repetition  of  prescribed  formulas,  are  necessary 
before  wild  elephants  can  be  entrapped  and  tamed. 
Some  of  these  spells  and  charms  (mantra]  are  supposed 
to  have  extraordinary  potency,  and  I  have  in  my 
possession  a  curious  collection  of  them,  regarding 
which,  it  was  told  me  seriously  by  a  Malay,  that  in 
consequence  of  their  being  read  aloud  in  his  house 
three  times  all  the  hens  stopped  laying !  The  spells 
in  this  collection  are  nearly  all  in  the  Siamese  language, 
and  there  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  modern  Malays 
owe  most  of  their  ideas  on  the  subject  of  taming  and 
driving  elephants  to  the  Siamese.  Those,  however, 
who  had  no  idea  of  making  use  of  the  elephant,  but 

1  Of  the  rhinoceros  not  many  super-  "fiery"  rhinoceros  (badak  apt)  which 

stitions  are  yet  known.     The  rhinoceros  is    excessively  dangerous    if  attacked, 

horn,    however   (called    chula),   is   be-  This  latter  is  probably  a  mere  fable, 

lieved  to  be  a  powerful  aphrodisiac,  and  vide   Cliff. ,   In   Court  and  Kampong, 

there  is  supposed   to  be   a  species  of  p.  33. 


who  feared  him  as  an  enemy,  were  doubtless  the  first 
to  devise  the  idea  of  influencing  him  by  invocations. 
This  idea  is  inherited,  both  by  Malays  and  Siamese, 
from  common  ancestry."1 

To  the  above  evidence  (which  was  collected  by 
Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell  no  doubt  mainly  in  Perak)  I  would 
add  that  at  Labu,  in  Selangor,  I  heard  on  more  than 
one  occasion  a  story  in  which  the  elephant-folk  were 
described  as  possessing,  on  the  borders  of  Siam,  a  city 
of  their  own,  where  they  live  in  houses  like  human 
beings,  and  wear  their  natural  human  shape.  This 
story,  which  was  first  told  me  by  Ungku  Said  Kechil 
of  Jelebu,  was  taken  down  by  me  at  the  time,  and  ran 
as  follows  : — 

"  A  Malay  named  Laboh  went  out  one  day  to  his 
rice-field  and  found  that  elephants  had  been  destroying 
his  rice. 

"He  therefore  planted  caltrops  of  a  cubit  and  a 
half  in  length  in  the  tracks  of  the  offenders.  That 
night  an  elephant  was  wounded  in  the  foot  by  one  of 
the  caltrops,  and  went  off  bellowing  with  pain. 

"  Day  broke  and  Laboh  set  off  on  the  track  of  the 
wounded  elephant,  but  lost  his  way,  and  after  three 
days  and  nights  journeying,  found  himself  on  the 
borders  of  a  new  and  strange  country.  Presently  he 
encountered  an  old  man,  to  whom  he  remarked  '  Hullo, 
grandfather,  your  country  is  extraordinarily  quiet ! ' 
The  old  man  replied,  '  Yes,  for  all  noise  is  forbidden, 
because  the  king's  daughter  is  ill.'  'What  is  the 
matter  with  her  ? '  asked  Si  Laboh.  The  old  man 
replied  that  she  had  trodden  upon  a  caltrop.  Si  Laboh 
then  asked,  '  May  I  see  if  I  can  do  anything  to  help 

1  J.R.A.S^  S.B.,  No.  7,  pp.  23,  24. 


"  The  old  man  then  went  and  reported  the  matter 
to  the  king,  who  ordered  Si  Laboh  to  be  brought  into 
his  presence. 

"  [Now  the  country  which  Si  Laboh  had  reached 
was  a  fine  open  country  on  the  borders  of  Siam.  It 
is  called  '  Pak  Henang,'  and  its  only  inhabitants  are 
the  elephant-people  who  live  there  in  human  guise. 
And  whoever  trespasses  over  the  boundaries  of  that 
country  turns  into  an  elephant.] 

"Then  Si  Laboh  saw  that  the  king's  daughter, 
whose  name  was  Princess  Rimbut,  was  suffering  from 
one  of  the  caltrops  which  he  himself  had  planted. 
He  therefore  extracted  it  from  her  foot,  so  that  she 
recovered,  and  the  king,  in  order  to  reward  Si  Laboh, 
gave  him  the  Princess  in  marriage. 

"  Now  when  they  had  been  married  a  long  time, 
and  had  got  two  children,  Si  Laboh  endeavoured  to 
persuade  his  wife  to  accompany  him  on  a  visit  to  his 
own  country.  To  this  the  Princess  replied  '  Yes  ;  but 
if  I  go  you  must  promise  never  to  add  to  the  dish  any 
young  tree-shoots  at  meal-time.' l 

"  On  this  they  started,  and  at  the  end  of  the  first 
day's  journey  they  halted  and  sat  down  to  eat.  But 
Si  Laboh  had  forgotten  the  injunctions  of  his  wife,  and 
put  young  tree-shoots  into  the  dish  with  his  rice.  Then 
his  wife  protested  and  said,  '  Did  I  not  tell  you  not  to 
put  young  tree-shoots  into  your  food  ?  '  But  Si  Laboh 
was  obstinate,  and  merely  replied,  '  What  do  I  care  ? ' 
so  that  his  wife  was  turned  back  into  an  elephant  and  ran 
off  into  the  jungle.  Then  Si  Laboh  wept  and  followed 
her,  but  she  refused  to  return  as  she  had  now  become 
an  elephant.  Yet  he  followed  her  for  a  whole  day,  but 

1  Young  shoots  of  bamboo  are  eaten  by  Malays  with  curry. 


she  would  not  return  to  him,  and  he  then  returned 
homewards  with  his  children. 

"  This  is  all  that  is  known  about  the  origin  of 
elephants  who  are  human  beings." 

A  Malay  charm  which  was  given  me  (at  Labu)  to 
serve  as  a  protection  against  elephants  (J>$ndinding 
gajak)  gives  the  actual  name  of  the  Elephant  King— 

"  O  Grandfather  Moyang  Kaban, 
Destroy  not  your  own  grandchildren." 

Ghost  elephants  (gajah  kramaf)  are  not  uncommon. 
They  are  popularly  believed  to  be  harmless,  but  in- 
vulnerable, and  are  generally  supposed  to  exhibit  some 
outward  and  visible  sign  of  their  sanctity,  such  as  a 
stunted  tusk  or  a  shrunken  foot.  They  are  the  tutelary 
genii  of  certain  localities,  and  when  they  are  killed 
the  good  fortune  of  the  neighbourhood  is  supposed  to 
depart  too.  Certain  it  is,  that  when  one  of  these 
ghost  elephants  was  shot  at  Klang  a  year  or  two  ago, 
it  did  not  succumb  until  some  fifty  or  sixty  rifle-bullets 
had  been  poured  into  it,  and  its  death  was  followed  by 
a  fall  in  the  local  value  of  coffee  and  coffee  land,  from 
which  the  district  took  long  to  recover.1 

A  ghost  elephant  is  very  often  thought  to  be  the 
guardian  spirit  of  some  particular  shrine — an  idea  that 
is  common  throughout  the  Peninsula. 

Other  general  ideas  about  the  elephant  are  as 
follows  : — 

"Elephants  are  said  to  be  very  frightened  if  they 
see  a  tree  stump  that  has  been  felled  at  a  great  height 

1  The  skull  of  this  elephant,  riddled  one  stunted  tusk.     The  present  State 

with  bullets,  was  sent  to  the  Govern-  surgeon  (Dr.  A.    E.    O.   Travers)  can 

ment  Museum   at   Kuala  Lumpor,   in  speak  to  the  facts. 
Selangor.   It  had,  so  far  as  I  remember, 


from  the  ground,  as  some  trees  which  have  high  spread- 
ing buttresses  are  cut,  because  they  think  that  giants 
must  have  felled  it,  and  as  ordinary-sized  men  are  more 
than  a  match  for  them  they  are  in  great  dread  of  being 
caught  by  creatures  many  times  more  powerful  than 
their  masters.  Some  of  the  larger  insects  of  the  grass- 
hopper kind  are  supposed  to  be  objects  of  terror  to 
elephants,  while  the  particularly  harmless  little  pan- 
golin (Manis  pentadactyla]  is  thought  to  be  able  to  kill 
one  of  these  huge  beasts  by  biting  its  foot.  The 
pangolin,  by  the  bye,  is  quite  toothless.  Another 
method  in  which  the  pangolin  attacks  and  kills 
elephants  is  by  coiling  itself  tightly  around  the  end  of 
the  elephant's  trunk,  and  so  suffocating  it.  This  idea 
is  also  believed  in  by  the  Singhalese,  according  to  Mr. 
W.  T.  Hornaday's  Two  Years  in  the  Jungle."1 

The  foregoing  passage  refers  to  Perak,  but  similar 
ideas  are  common  in  Selangor,  and  they  occur  no  doubt, 
with  local  variations,  in  every  one  of  the  Malay  States. 
Selangor  Malays  tell  of  the  scaring  of  elephants  by  the 
process  of  drawing  the  slender  stem  of  the  bamboo 
down  to  the  ground  and  cutting  off  the  top  of  it,  when 
it  springs  back  to  its  place. 

The  story  of  the  "  pangolin "  is  also  told  in 
Selangor  with  additional  details.  Thus  it  is  said  that 
the  "Jawi-jawi"  tree  (a  kind  of  banyan)  is  always 
avoided  by  elephants  because  it  was  once  licked  by  the 
armadillo.  The  latter,  after  licking  it,  went  his  way, 
and  "the  elephant  coming  up  was  greatly  taken  aback 
by  the  offensive  odour,  and  swore  that  he  would  never 
go  near  the  tree  again.  He  kept  his  oath,  and  his 
example  has  been  followed  by  his  descendants,  so  that 

1  SeL  Journ.  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  p.  95   (quoted  from   Perak  Museum  Notes  by 
Mr.  L.  Wray). 


to  this  day  the  '  Jawi-jawi '  is  the  one  tree  in  the  forest 
which  the  elephant  is  afraid  to  approach." 

The  following  directions  for  hunting  the  elephant 
were  given  me  by  L£bai  Jamal,  a  famous  elephant 
hunter  of  Lingging,  near  the  Sungei  Ujong  border  :— 

"  When  you  first  meet  with  the  spoor  of  elephant 
or  rhinoceros,  observe  whether  the  foot-hole  contains 
any  dead  wood,  (then)  take  the  twig  of  dead  wood,  to- 
gether with  a  ball  of  earth  as  big  as  a  maize-cob  taken 
from  the  same  foot-hole  (if  there  is  only  one  of  you, 
one  ball  will  do,  if  there  are  three  of  you,  three  balls 
will  be  wanted,  if  seven,  seven  balls,  but  not  more). 
Then  roll  up  your  ball  of  earth  and  the  twig  together 
in  a  tree-leaf,  breathe  upon  it,  and  recite  the  charm  (for 
blinding  the  elephant's  eyes),  the  purport  of  which  is 
that  if  the  quarry  sees,  its  eyesight  shall  be  destroyed, 
and  if  it  looks,  its  eyesight  shall  be  dimmed,  by  the 
help  of  God,  the  prophet,  and  the  medicine-man,  who 
taught  the  charm. 

"  Now  slip  your  ball  of  earth  into  your  waistband 
just  over  the  navel,  and  destroy  the  scent  of  your  body 
and  your  gun.  To  do  this,  take  a  bunch  of  certain 
leaves 2  (daun  sa-cherek\  together  with  stem-leaves  of 
the  betel-vine  (kerapak  siri/i),  leaves  of  the  wild  camphor 
(chapa),  and  leaves  of  the  club-gourd  (labu  ayer  puteti], 
break  their  midribs  with  your  left  hand,  shut  your  eyes, 
and  say  '  As  these  tree  leaves  smell,  so  may  my  body 
(and  gun)  be  scented.' 

"  When  the  animal  is  dead,  beat  it  with  an  end  of 
black  cloth,  repeating  the  charm  for  driving  away  the 

1  SeL  Journ.  vol.  i.  No.  6,  p.  83,  by  the  medicine-man  for  his  leaf-brush, 
where  this  note  is   given.      Probably  i.e.  leaves  of  the  piilut-puhit,  stlaguri, 
"armadillo"  is    a  mistake  for   "pan-  gandarusa,  and  the  red  clracrena  (Itn- 
golin."  juang  merah). 

2  These  leaves  are  such  as  are  used 


'mischief  (badi]  from  the  carcase,  which  charm  runs 
as  follows  : — 

"  Badiyu,  Mother  of  Mischief,  Badi  Panji,  Blind  Mother, 
I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  sprang,1 

Three  drops  of  Adam's  blood  were  the  origin  from  which  you  sprang, 
Mischief  of  Earth,  return  to  Earth, 
Mischief  of  Ant-heap,  return  to  Ant-heap, 
Mischief  of  Elephant,  return  to  Elephant,2 
Mischief  of  Wood,  return  to  Wood, 
Mischief  of  Water,  return  to  Water, 
Mischief  of  Stone,  return  to  Stone 
And  injure  not  my  person. 
By  the  virtue  of  my  Teacher, 
You  may  not  injure  the  children  of  the  race  of  Man." 

The  perquisites  of  the  Pawang  (magician)  are  to  be 
"  a  little  black  cloth  and  a  little  white  cloth,"  and  the 
only  special  taboo  mentioned  by  Lebai  Jamal  was  "  on 
no  account  to  let  the  naked  skin  rub  against  the  skin 
of  the  slain  animal." 

Before  leaving  the  subject  of  elephants,  I  may  add 
that  Raja  Ja'far  (of  Beranang  in  Selangor)  told  me 
that  Lebai  Jamal,  when  charged  by  an  elephant  or 
rhinoceros,  would  draw  upon  the  ground  with  his  finger 
a  line  which  the  infuriated  animal  was  never  able  to 
cross.  This  line,  he  said,  was  called  the  Baris  Lak- 
samana,  or  the  "Admiral's  Line,"  and  the  knowledge 
of  how  to  draw  it  was  naturally  looked  upon  as  a  great 

1  "The  Malays  believe  that  the  person's  ancestry  implied  common 
power  to  inform  a  spirit,  a  wild  beast,  tribal  origin.  For  the  explanation  of 
or  any  natural  object,  such  as  iron  rust,  "  Badi,"  vide  Chap.  IV.  p.  94,  supra, 
of  the  source  from  which  it  originates  and  Chap.  VI.  p.  427,  infra, 
(usul  asal  ka-jadi-an-nyd),  renders  it  2  "  Rhinoceros "  should  be  sub- 
powerless."  H.  Clifford  in  No.  3  of  stituted  for  "elephant"  passim,  if  it 
the  Publications  of  the  R.A.S.,  S.B.,  was  the  object  of  the  hunter's  pursuit. 
Hikayat  Raja  Budiman,  pt.  ii.  p.  8.  This  particular  line  should  probably 
This  belief  is  found  among  all  tribes  come  at  the  end  of  the  charm  instead 
of  Malays  in  the  Peninsula.  Possibly  of  the  middle, 
the  idea  was  that  knowledge  of  another 

THE  TIGER  157 

The  Tiger 

"The  Tiger  is  sometimes  believed  to  be  a  man 
or  demon  in  the  form  of  a  wild  beast,  and  to  the 
numerous  aboriginal  superstitions  which  attach  to  this 
dreaded  animal  Muhammadanism  has  added  the  notion 
which  connects  the  Tiger  with  the  Khalif  Ali.  One 
of  Ali's  titles  throughout  the  Moslem  world  is  '  the 
Victorious  Lion  of  the  Lord,'  and  in  Asiatic  countries, 
where  the  lion  is  unknown,  the  tiger  generally  takes 
the  place  of  the  '  king  of  beasts.'  " l 

But  the  anthropomorphic  ideas  of  the  Malays 
about  the  Tiger  go  yet  farther  than  this.  Far  away  in 
the  jungle  (as  I  have  several  times  been  told  in  Selan- 
gor)  the  tiger-folk  (no  less  than  the  elephants)  have  a 
town  of  their  own,  where  they  live  in  houses,  and  act 
in  every  respect  like  human  beings.  In  the  town  re- 
ferred to  their  house-posts  are  made  of  the  heart  of 
the  Tree-nettle  (fras  jelatang],  and  their  roofs  thatched 
with  human  hair — one  informant  added  that  men's 
bones  were  their  only  rafters,  and  men's  skins  their 
house  walls — and  there  they  live  quietly  enough  until 
one  of  their  periodical  attacks  of  fierceness  (nieng- 
ganas)  comes  on  and  causes  them  to  break  bounds 
and  range  the  forest  for  their  chosen  prey. 

There  are  several  of  these  tiger-villages  or  "  en- 
closures" in  the  Peninsula,  the  chief  of  them  being 
Gunong  Ledang  (the  Mount  Ophir  of  Malacca),  just 
as  Pasummah  is  the  chief  of  such  localities  in 
Sumatra.2  So  too,  from  Perak,  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell 
writes  in  1881  : — 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  NO.  7,  p.  22. 

2  Marsden,  Hist,  of  Sum.  p.  292,  ed.  1811. 




"A  mischievous  tiger  is  said  sometimes  to  have 
broken  loose  from  its  pen  or  fold  (peckak  kandang], 
This  is  in  allusion  to  an  extraordinary  belief  that,  in 
parts  of  the  Peninsula,  there  are  regular  enclosures 
where  tigers  possessed  by  human  souls  live  in  associa- 
tion. During  the  day  they  roam  where  they  please, 
but  return  to  the  kandang  at  night."  l 

Various  fables  ascribe  to  the  tiger  a  human 
origin.  One  of  these,  taken  down  by  me  word 
for  word  from  a  Selangor  Malay,  is  intended  to 
account  for  the  tiger's  stripes.  The  gist  of  it  ran  as 
follows : — 

"  An  old  man  picked  up  a  boy  in  the  jungle  with  a 
white  skin,  green  eyes,  and  very  long  nails.  Taking 
the  boy  home  his  rescuer  named  him  Muhammad  Yatim 
(i.e.  '  Muhammad  the  fatherless '),  and  when  he  grew  up 
sent  him  to  school,  where  he  behaved  with  great 
cruelty  to  his  schoolfellows,  and  was  therefore  soundly 
beaten  by  his  master  ('Toh  Saih  Panjang  Janggut,  i.e. 
'Toh  Saih  Long-beard),  who  used  a  stick  made  of  a 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  I.e. 

"  They  (the  Sumatran  Malays)  seem  to 
think,  indeed,  that  tigers  in  general  are 
actuated  with  the  spirits  of  departed 
men,  and  no  consideration  will  prevail 
on  a  countryman  to  catch  or  to  wound 
one,  but  in  self-defence,  or  immediately 
after  the  act  of  destroying  a  friend  or 
relation.  They  speak  of  them  with  a 
degree  of  awe,  and  hesitate  to  call  them 
by  their  common  name  (rimau  or  ma- 
chang),  terming  them  respectfully  satwa 
(the  wild  animals),  or  even  nenek 
(ancestors),  as  really  believing  them 
such,  or  by  way  of  soothing  or  coaxing 
them,  as  our  ignorant  country  folk  call 
the  fairies  '  the  good  people. ' "  \Dato1 
hutan,  "elder  of  the  jungle,"  is  the 
common  title  of  the  tiger  in  Selangor. 
Various  nicknames,  however,  are  given, 
e.g.  Si  Pudong,  "  he  of  the  hairy  face  " 

(Cliff.,  In  Court  and  Kampong,  p.  201), 
'PahRandau, "  father  shaggy-face,  "etc.  ] 
"When  an  European  procures  traps  to 
be  set ...  the  inhabitants  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood have  been  known  to  go  at 
night  to  the  place  and  practise  some 
forms  in  order  to  persuade  the  animal, 
when  caught,  or  when  he  shall  perceive 
the  bait,  that  it  was  not  laid  by  them 
or  with  their  consent.  They  talk  of  a 
place  in  the  country  where  the  tigers 
have  a  court,  and  maintain  a  regular 
form  of  government,  in  towns,  the  houses 
of  which  are  thatched  with  women's 
hair." — Marsden,  I.e.  (The  italics  are 
mine.)  It  is  curious  that  the  Fairy 
Princess'  hall  on  Gunong  Ledang  is 
similarly  described  in  the  Se'jarah 
Malayu  (Malay  Annals,  p.  279)  as 
being  of  bone  and  thatched  with  hair. 


kind  of  wood  called  los1  to  effect  the  chastisement. 
At  the  first  cut  the  boy  leapt  as  far  as  the  doorway  ; 
at  the  second  he  leapt  to  the  ground,  at  the  third  he 
bounded  into  the  grass,  at  the  fourth  he  uttered  a 
growl,  and  at  the  fifth  his  tail  fell  down  behind  him 
and  he  went  upon  all  fours,  whereat  his  master  (impro- 
vising a  name  to  curse  him  by),  exclaimed,  '  This  is  of 
a  truth  God's  tiger !  (Harimau  Alla/i).  Go  you,'  he 
added,  addressing  the  tiger,  '  to  the  place  where  you 
will  catch  your  prey — the  borderland  between  the 
primeval  forest  and  the  secondary  forest-growth,  and 
that  between  the  secondary  forest-growth  and  the  plain 
—catch  there  whomsoever  you  will,  but  see  that  you 
catch  only  the  headless.  Alter  no  jot  of  what  I  say, 
or  you  shall  be  consumed  by  the  Iron  of  the  Regalia, 
and  crushed  by  the  sanctity  of  the  thirty  divisions  of 
the  Koran.' '  Hence  the  tiger  is  to  this  day  compelled 
to  "  ask  for  "  his  prey,  and  uses  divination  (bertenung], 
as  all  men  know,  for  the  purpose  of  discovering  whether 
his  petition  has  yet  been  granted. 

Hence,  too,  he  carries  on  his  hide  to  this  very  day 
the  mark  of  the  stripes  with  which  he  was  beaten  at 

The  method  of  divination  said  to  be  practised  by 
the  tiger  is  as  follows  :  The  tiger  lies  down  and  gazes 
(bertenung)  at  leaves  which  he  takes  between  his  paws, 
and  whenever  he  sees  the  outline  of  a  leaf  take  the 

1  Also    called   Vaj.      The   tiger    is  an  adequate  protection  against  any  tiger. 

still  supposed  to  be  mortally  afraid  of  I  do  not  know  what  species  of  tree  it 

fas  or  Voj  wood.     In  fact,  I  was  more  belongs  to,  but  a  gorse  stick  (which  I 

than  once  told  of  a  trapped  tiger  who  had  bought  some  years  before  in  Ire- 

on  being   shown  a  piece  of  'fas  wood  land)  was  taken  to  be  a  piece  of  fas 

"  became  quite  silent,"  though  it  had  wood,  and  was  begged  from  me  by  a 

previously    been     savagely    growling,  local  Malay  headman,  who  cut  it  up 

and  shrank  into  a  corner  of  the  trap.  into  inches  for  distribution  among  his 

A  single  inch  of  this  wood  is  thought  following. 


shape  of  one  of  his  intended  victims,  without  the  head, 
he  knows  it  to  be  the  sign  that  that  victim  has  been 
"  granted  "  to  him,  in  accordance  with  the  very  terms 
of  his  master's  curse. 

I  once  asked  (at  Labu)  how  it  was  known  that  the 
tiger  used  divination,  and  was  told  this  story  of  a  man 
who  had  seen  it: — 

"A  certain  Malay  had  been  working,  together 
with  his  newly-married  wife,  in  the  rice-fields  at  Labu, 
and  on  his  stepping  aside  at  noon  into  the  cool  of  the 
forest,  he  saw  a  tiger  lying  down  among  the  under- 
wood apparently  gazing  at  something  between  its  paws. 
By  creeping  stealthily  nearer  he  was  able  at  length  to 
discern  the  object  at  which  the  tiger  was  gazing,  and  it 
proved  to  be,  to  his  intense  horror,  a  leaf  which  pre- 
sented the  lineaments  of  his  wife,  lacking  only  the  head. 
Hurrying  back  to  the  rice-field  he  at  once  warned  the 
neighbours  of  what  he  had  seen,  and  implored  them  to 
set  his  wife  in  their  midst  and  escort  her  homeward. 
To  this  they  consented,  but  yet,  in  spite  of  every  pre- 
caution, the  tiger  broke  through  the  midst  of  them  and 
killed  the  woman  before  it  could  be  driven  off.  The 
bereaved  husband  thereupon  requested  them  to  leave 
him  alone  with  the  body  and  depart,  and  when  they  had 
done  so,  he  took  the  body  in  his  arms,  and  so  lay  down 
embracing  it,  with  a  dagger  in  either  hand.  Before 
sunset  the  tiger  returned  to  its  kill,  and  leapt  upon  the 
corpse,  whereupon  the  husband  stabbed  it  to  the 
heart,  so  that  the  points  of  the  daggers  met,  and  killed 
it  on  the  spot." 

The  power  of  becoming  a  man-  or  were-tiger  (as  it 
has  sometimes  been  called),  is  supposed  to  be  confined 
to  one  tribe  of  Sumatrans,  the  Korinchi  Malays,  many 
of  whom  are  to  be  met  with  in  the  Malay  Native  States. 


This  belief  is  very  strongly  held,  and  on  one  occasion, 
when  I  asked  some  Malays  at  Jugra  how  it  could  be 
proved  that  the  man  really  became  a  tiger,  they  told 
me  the  case  of  a  man  some  of  whose  teeth  were  plated 
with  gold,  and  who  had  been  accidentally  killed  in  the 
tiger  stage,  when  the  same  gold  plating  was  discovered 
in  the  tiger's  mouth.1 

Of  the  strength  of  the  Malay  belief  in  were-tigers 
Mr.  Clifford  writes  : — 

"  The  existence  of  the  Malayan  Loup  Garou  to  the 
native  mind  is  a  fact,  and  not  a  mere  belief.  The 
Malay  knows  that  it  is  true.  Evidence,  if  it  be  needed, 
may  be  had  in  plenty ;  the  evidence,  too,  of  sober- 
minded  men,  whose  words  in  a  Court  of  Justice  would 
bring  conviction  to  the  mind  of  the  most  obstinate 
jurymen,  and  be  more  than  sufficient  to  hang  the  most 
innocent  of  prisoners.  The  Malays  know  well  how 
Haji  'Abdallah,  the  native  of  the  little  state  of  Korinchi 
in  Sumatra,  was  caught  naked  in  a  tiger  trap,  and 
thereafter  purchased  his  liberty  at  the  price  of  the 
buffaloes  he  had  slain  while  he  marauded  in  the  like- 
ness of  a  beast.  They  know  of  the  countless  Korinchi 
men  who  have  vomited  feathers,  after  feasting  upon 
fowls,  when  for  the  nonce  they  had  assumed  the  forms 
of  tigers  ;  and  of  those  other  men  of  the  same  race  who 
have  left  their  garments  and  their  trading  packs  in 
thickets  whence  presently  a  tiger  has  emerged.  All 
these  things  the  Malays  know  have  happened,  and  are 

1  It  appears  that  in  Java  there  are  only  cover  his  great  toes,  but  which  he 
supposed  not  only  to  be  men  who  is  able  gradually  to  stretch  until  it 
can  themselves  become  tigers  at  will,  covers  his  whole  person.  This  sarong 
but  men  who  can  turn  other  people  resembles  the  hide  of  a  Bengal  tiger 
into  tigers  as  well.  This  is  done  (being  yellow  with  black  stripes),  and 
by  means  of  a  species  of  sympa-  the  wearing  of  it  in  conjunction  with 
thetic  magic,  the  medicine-man  draw-  the  necessary  charms  will  turn  the  re- 
ing  on  a  sarong  (Malay  skirt)  of  quired  person  into  a  tiger, 
marvellous  elasticity,  which  at  first  will 



happening  to-day,  in  the  land  in  which  they  live,  and 
with  these  plain  evidences  before  their  eyes,  the  empty 
assurances  of  the  enlightened  European  that  Were- 
Tigers  do  not,  and  never  did  exist,  excite  derision  not 
unmingled  with  contempt."  l 

Writing  on  the  same  theme,  Sir  Frank  Swettenham 
says  : — 

"  Another  article  of  almost  universal  belief  is  that 
the  people  of  a  small  State  in  Sumatra  called  Korinchi 
have  the  power  of  assuming  at  will  the  form  of  a  tiger, 
and  in  that  disguise  they  wreak  vengeance  on  those 
they  wish  to  injure.  Not  every  Korinchi  man  can  do 
this,  but  still  the  gift  of  this  strange  power  of  meta- 
morphosis is  pretty  well  confined  to  the  people  of  the 
small  Sumatran  State.  At  night  when  respectable 
members  of  society  should  be  in  bed,  the  Korinchi 
man  slips  down  from  his  hut,  and,  assuming  the  form 
of  a  tiger,  goes  about  '  seeking  whom  he  may  devour.' 

"  I  have  heard  of  four  Korinchi  men  arriving  in  a 
district  of  Perak,  and  that  night  a  number  of  fowls 
were  taken  by  a  tiger.  The  strangers  left  and  went 
farther  up  country,  and  shortly  after  only  three  of  them 
returned  and  stated  that  a  tiger  had  just  been  killed, 
and  they  begged  the  local  headman  to  bury  it. 

"  On  another  occasion  some  Korinchi  men  appeared 
and  sought  hospitality  in  a  Malay  house,  and  there  also 
the  fowls  disappeared  in  the  night,  and  there  were  un- 
mistakable traces  of  the  visit  of  a  tiger,  but  the  next 
day  one  of  the  visitors  fell  sick,  and  shortly  after 
vomited  chicken-feathers. 

"It  is  only  fair  to  say  that  the  Korinchi  people 
strenuously  deny  the  tendencies  and  the  power  ascribed 
to  them,  but  aver  that  they  properly  belong  to  the 

1  Clifford,  In  Court  and  Kampong,  pp.  65,  66. 


inhabitants  of  a  district  called  Chenaku  in  the  interior 
of  the  Korinchi  country.  Even  there,  however,  it  is 
only  those  who  are  practised  in  the  ettmu  sehir,  the 
occult  arts,  who  are  thus  capable  of  transforming  them- 
selves into  tigers,  and  the  Korinchi  people  profess 
themselves  afraid  to  enter  the  Chenaku  district." 

There  are  many  stories  about  ghost  tigers  (rimau 
krawat),  which  are  generally  supposed  to  have  one 
foot  a  little  smaller  than  the  others  (kaki  tengkis). 
During  my  stay  in  the  Langat  district  I  was  shown 
on  more  than  one  occasion  the  spoor  of  a  ghost  tiger. 
This  happened  once  near  Sepang  village,  on  a  wet 
and  clayey  bridle -track,  where  the  unnatural  small- 
ness  of  one  of  the  feet  was  very  conspicuous.  Such 
tigers  are  considered  invulnerable,  but  harmless  to 
man,  and  are  looked  upon  generally  as  the  guardian 
spirits  of  some  sacred  spot.  One  of  these  sacred 
spots  was  the  shrine  (kramat)  of  'Toh  Kamarong, 
about  two  miles  north  of  Sepang  village.  This 
shrine,  it  was  alleged,  was  guarded  by  a  white  ghost 
elephant  and  ghost  tiger,  who  ranged  the  country 
round  but  never  harmed  anybody.  One  day,  how- 
ever, a  Chinaman  from  the  neighbouring  pepper 
plantations  offered  at  this  shrine  a  piece  of  pork, 
which,  however  acceptable  it  might  have  been  to  a 
Chinese  saint,  so  incensed  the  orthodox  guardians  of 
this  Muhammadan  shrine  that  one  of  them  (the  ghost 
tiger)  fell  upon  the  Chinaman  and  slew  him  before 
he  could  return  to  his  house. 

By  far  the  most  celebrated  of  these  ghost  tigers, 
lowever,  were  the  guardians  of  the  shrine  at  the  foot 
)f  Jugra  Hill,  which  were  formerly  the  pets  of  the 
Princess  of  Malacca  (Tuan  Putri  Gunong  Ledang). 

1  Malay  Sketches,  pp.  200,  201. 


Local  report  says  that  this  princess  left  her  country 
when  it  was  taken  by  the  Portuguese,  and  established 
herself  on  Jugra  Hill,  a  solitary  hill  on  the  southern 
portion  of  the  Selangor  coast,  which  is  marked  on 
old  charts  as  the  "  False  Parcelar"  hill. 

The  legend  which  connects  the  name  of  this 
princess  with  Jugra  Hill  was  thus  told1  by  Mr.  G.  C. 
Bellamy  (formerly  of  the  Selangor  Civil  Service). 

"  Bukit  Jugra  (Jugra  Hill)  in  its  isolated  position, 
and  conspicuous  as  it  is  from  the  sea,  could  scarcely 
escape  being  an  object  of  veneration  to  the  uneducated 
Malay  mind.  The  jungle  which  clothes  its  summit 
and  sides  is  supposed  to  be  full  of  hantus  (demons 
or  ghosts),  and  often  when  talking  to  Malays  in  my 
bungalow  in  the  evening  have  our  discussions  been 
interrupted  by  the  cries  of  the  langswayer  (a 
female  birth-demon)  in  the  neighbouring  jungle,  or 
the  mutterings  of  the  bajang  (a  familiar  spirit)  as 
he  sat  on  the  roof-tree.  But  the  'Putri'  (Princess) 
of  Gunong  Ledang  holds  the  premier  position  amongst 
the  fabulous  denizens  of  the  jungle  on  the  hill,  and  it 
is  strange  that  places  so  far  apart  as  Mount  Ophir 
and  Bukit  Jugra  should  be  associated  with  one 
another  in  traditionary  lore.  The  story  runs  that 
this  estimable  lady,  having  disposed  of  her  husband 
by  pricking  him  to  death  with  needles,2  decided 
thenceforth  to  live  free  from  the  restrictions  of 
married  life.  She  was  thus  able  to  visit  distant 
lands,  taking  with  her  a  cat3  of  fabulous  dimensions 
as  her  sole  attendant.  This  cat  appears  to  have 
been  a  most  amiable  and  accommodating  creature, 
for  on  arriving  at  Jugra  he  carried  the  Princess  on 

1  Set.  Jourtt.  vol.  i.  No.  6,  p.  87.  3  Or  two  cats,  vide  infra. 

2  Or  with  a  needle,  vide  infra. 


his  back  to  the  top  of  the  hill.  Here  the  lady  re- 
mained for  some  time,  and  during  her  stay  constructed 
a  bathing- place  for  herself.  Even  to  this  day  she 
pays  periodical  visits  to  Jugra  Hill,  and  although  she 
herself  is  invisible  to  mortal  eye,  her  faithful  attendant, 
in  the  shape  of  a  handsome  tiger,  is  often  to  be  met 
with  as  he  prowls  about  the  place  at  night.  He  has 
never  been  known  to  injure  any  one,  and  is  reverently 
spoken  of  as  a  rimau  kramat  (ghost  tiger)." 

To  the  above  story  Mr.  C.  H.  A.  Turney  (then 
Senior  District  Officer  and  stationed  at  Jugra)  added 
the  following : — 

"  The  Princess  and  the  stories  about  her  and  the 
tiger  are  well  known,  and  the  latter  are  related  from 
mother  to  daughter  in  Langat. 

"  There  are,  however,  they  say,  one  or  two 
omissions ;  instead  of  one  tiger  there  were  two,  the 
real  harimau  kramat  and  an  ambitious  young  tiger 
who  would  also  follow  the  Princess  in  her  round  of 
visits.  This  brute  came  to  an  untimely  and  igno- 
minious end  (as  he  deserved  to)  at  the  hands  of  one 
Innes,  who  was  disturbed  whilst  reading  a  newspaper, 
and  this  can  be  verified  by  Captain  Syers. 

"  The  other  tiger  jogged  along  gaily  with  his 
phantom  mistress,  and  made  night  hideous  with  his 
howlings  and  prowlings  all  about  the  Jugra  Hill. 
He  was  really  kramat,  and  was  said  to  have  been 
shot  at  by  several  Malays,  and  the  present  Sergeant- 
Major  Allie,  now  stationed  at  Kuala  Lumpur,  can 
vouch  for  this."1 

1  Sel.  Journ.  vol.  i.  No.  8,  p.  115.  (ghost  tigers)  reminds  me  of  the  excite- 
Later  Mr.  Turney,  writing  under  ment  there  was  in  the  town  because  a 
the  nom  de  plume  of  a  well-known  clever  lady,  called  Miss  Bird,  was 
Chinese  servant,  added  the  follow-  coming  and  would  write  about  the 
ing : —  place  and  people. 

"Talking  of  the    harimau  kramat  "  My  master  had  obtained  intimation 


I  myself  collected  at  the  time  the  following  extra 
details  : — 

"  The  local  version  of  the  legend  about  the  kramat 
at  the  foot  of  Jugra  Hill  runs  somewhat  as  follows  :— 
Once  upon  a  time  one  Nakhoda  Ragam  was  travelling 
with  his  wife  (who  is  apparently  to  be  identified  with 
the  Princess  of  Malacca,  Tuan  Putri  Gunong  Ledang) 
in  a  boat  (sampan),  when  the  latter  pricked  him  to 
death  with  a  needle  (mati  di-chuchok  jarum).  His 
blood  flooded  the  boat  (darah-nya  hanyut  dalam  sam- 
pan], and  presently  the  woman  in  the  boat  was  hailed 
by  a  vessel  sailing  past  her.  '  What  have  you  got  in 
that  boat  ? '  said  the  master  of  the  vessel,  and  the 
Princess  replied:  'It  is  only  spinach -juice'  (kiiak 
bayani).  She  was  therefore  allowed  to  proceed,  and 
landed  at  the  foot  of  Jugra  Hill,  where  she  buried 
all  that  yet  remained  of  her  husband,  which  consisted 
of  only  one  thigh  (paha).1  She  also  took  ashore  her 
two  cats,  which  were  in  the  boat  with  her,  and  which, 
turning  into  ghost  tigers,  became  the  guardians  of  this 
now  famous  shrine. "! 

Tigers  are  naturally  too  fierce  to  be  tracked  by  the 
Malays,  and  are  usually  caught  in  specially  con- 
structed traps  (penjara  rimau},  or  killed  by  a  self- 

of  this  lady's  wants,  and  was  directed  the  tiger,  which  was  in  a  state  of  good 

to  receive  her  on  a  certain  date,  and  preservation,  and  Miss  Bird  regretted 

the   Sultan's  people  were  told  that  a  that  she  was  too  late  to  taste  the  flesh, 

great  '  cherita  (story)  writer '  was  cpm-  which,    my    master    said,    made    very 

ing  who  would   tell  the  world  of  our  good     'devilled    steaks,'    not     unlike 

Sultan  and  his  dominions.  venison!"  —  (S.    J.    vol.    i.    No.     II, 

' '  On   the  appointed    day  the   lady  p.  171.) 

arrived,   and    accompanying  her  were  J  It  may  perhaps  be  supposed  that 

a  crowd  of  gentlemen,  who  were  sup-  she  had  thrown  the  rest  of  the  body 

posed  to  help  her  to  get  information.  overboard  before  she  was  surprised  by 

"They  all  dined  at  my  master's,  and  the  sailing  vessel. 

the  subjects  discussed  were  very  various,  2  Cp.  the  other  versions  of  this  tale 

among  others  was  the  kramat  (ghost)  given  in  N.  and  Q.,  No.   3,  Sees.  33, 

tiger,  which  had  been  shot  a  few  days  34   (issued  with  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No. 

previously.     They  admired  the  skin  of  15). 


acting  gun  or  spear-trap  (Vlantek  snapang,  tilantek 
tfrbang,  Vlantek  parap,  etc.) ;  but  even  in  this  case 
the  Pawang  explains  to  the  tiger  that  it  was  not  he 
but  Muhammad  who  set  the  trap.  There  are,  how- 
ever, as  might  be  expected,  a  great  number  of  charms 
intended  to  protect  the  devotee  in  various  ways  from 
the  tiger's  claws  and  teeth.  Of  these  I  will  give  one 
or  two  typical  specimens. 

Sometimes  a  charm  is  used  to  keep  the  tiger  at  a 
distance  (penjauh  rimau):— 

"  Ho,  BSrsenu  !     Ho,  Bgrkaih  ! 
I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  sprang ; 
(It  was)  Sheikh  Abuniah  Lahah  Abu  Kasap. 
Your  navel  originated  from  the  centre  of  your  crown, 
Your  breasts  are  [to  be  seen]  in  [the  spoor  of]  your  fore-feet.1 
May  you  go  wide  (of  me)  as  the  Seven  Tiers  of  Heaven, 
May  you  go  wide  (of  me)  as  the  Seven  Tiers  of  Earth  ; 
If  you  do  not  go  wide, 
You  shall  be  a  rebel  unto  God,"  etc. 

Sometimes   the  desired  effect  is  expected  to   be 
obtained  by  a  charm  for  locking  the  tiger's  jaws  :— 

"  Ho,  Sir  Cruncher  !     Ho,  Sir  Muncher  ! 
Let  the  twig  break  under  the  weight  of  the  wild  goose. 
Fast  shut  and  locked  be  (your  jaws),  by  virtue  of  'AH  Mustapah, 
OM.     Thus  I  break  (the  tusks  of)  all  beasts  that  are  tusked, 
By  virtue  of  this  Prayer  from  the  Land  of  Siam." 2 

1  The   explanation   given  to  me  of  certainly  bear  a  grudge  against  you  !  " 
these  two  lines  was  that  they  were  both  To  do  this  you  must  repeat  the  Arabic 
based  on  a  fancied  resemblance  between  words    with   which    the    charm    (just 
the  parts  referred  to.  quoted)  concluded,  and  then  pronounce 

2  A  similar  charm   runs,   "  Madam  the   Malay   word   buka,   which   means 
Ugly  is  the  name  of  your  mother,  Sir  "open."      The    Malays   are   fond   of 
Stripes  the  name  of  your  body.     I  fold  enigmatical  expressions,  in  which  the 
up  your  tongue  and  muzzle  your  mouth  ;  part  of  a  word  is  made  to  stand  for  the 
-wig  -eak  [stands  for]  let  the  twig  break  whole.      Cp.  infra  "  Teng  [stands  for] 
— break  with  the  weight  of  this  well-  the    Satengteng  flower."      Sometimes 
fed  wild  goose.     Be  (your  mouth)  shut  these  expressions  are    propounded    as 
fast  and  locked.     If  a  bachelor  loses  riddles,  e.g.  "  Ti  tiong  kalau  kalau" 
his  vocation,  it  does  not  matter."   (Here  out  of  which  the  guesser  was  supposed 
follow  a   few   words  of  Arabic.)     On  to  make  " Ranyak-banyak  &>SI, 
reaching  home  you  must  never  forget 

to  unlock  the  tiger's  jaws,  or  "//«  will 


The  next  specimen  is  described  as  a  "charm  for 
fascinating  "  (striking  fear  into)  a  "  tiger  and  hardening 
one's  own  heart  "  : — 

"  O  Earth-Shaker,  rumble  and  quake ! 
Let  iron  needles  be  my  body-hairs, 
Let  copper  needles  be  my  body-hairs  ! 
Let  poisonous  snakes  be  my  beard, 
A  crocodile  my  tongue, 

And  a  roaring  tiger  in  the  dimple  of  my  chin. 
Be  my  voice  the  trumpet  of  an  elephant, 
Yea,  like  unto  the  roar  of  the  thunderbolt. 
May  your  lips  be  fast  closed  and  your  teeth  clenched ; 
And  not  till  the  Heavens  and  the  Earth  are  moved 
May  your  heart  be  moved 
To  be  wroth  with  or  to  seek  to  destroy  me. 
By  the  virtue  of  '  There  is  no  god  but  God,' "  etc. 

To  which  may  be  added — 

"  Kun  !     Payah  Run  ! 

Let  (celestial)  splendour  reside  in  my  person. 
Whosoever  talks  of  encountering  me, 
A  cunning  Lion  shall  be  his  opponent. 
O  all  ye  Things  that  have  life 
Endure  not  to  confront  my  gaze  ! 
It  is  I  who  shall  confront  the  gaze  of  you, 
By  the  virtue  of  'There  is  no  god  but  God.'  " 

When  tigers  were  wounded,  it  was  said  (in  Selan- 
gor)  that  they  would  doctor  themselves  with  ubat 
tasak,  which  is  the  name  generally  given  to  a  sort  of 
poultice  used  by  those  who  have  just  undergone  cir- 
cumcision. And  when  a  tiger  was  killed  a  sort  of 
public  reception  was  formerly  always  accorded  to  him 
on  his  return  to  the  village. 

Though  I  have  not  seen  the  actual  reception 
(generally  miscalled  a  "wake"),  I  once  saw  near 
Kajang  in  Selangor  a  tiger  which  had  been  prepared 
for  the  ceremony.  The  animal  was  propped  up  on  all 
fours  as  if  alive,  and  his  mouth  kept  open  by  propping 


the  roof  with  a  stick.  It  was  unfortunately  impossible 
for  me  to  wait  for  the  ceremony,  but  from  a  description 
which  I  received  afterwards,  it  was  evidently  regarded 
as  a  sort  of  "  reception  "  given  by  the  people  of  the 
village  to  a  live  and  powerful  war-chief  or  champion 
(hulubalang)  who  had  come  to  pay  them  a  visit,  the 
dancing  and  fencing  which  takes  place  on  such  occa- 
sions being  intended  for  his  entertainment. 

One  of  these  ceremonies,  which  took  place  in  Jugra 
in  Selangor,  was  thus  described  : — 

A  Tiger's  Wake 

"At  10  A.M.  a  great  noise  of  rejoicing,  with  drums 
and  gongs,  approaching  Jugra  by  the  river,  was  heard, 
and  on  my  questioning  the  people,  I  was  told  Raja 
Yakob  had  managed  to  shoot  a  tiger  with  a  spring 
gun  behind  Jugra  Hill,  and  was  bringing  it  in  state  to 
the  Sultan.  I  went  over  to  the  Sultan's  at  Raja 
Yakob's  request  to  see  the  attendants  on  the  slaughter 
of  a  tiger.  The  animal  was  supported  by  posts  and 
fastened  in  an  attitude  as  nearly  as  possible  approach- 
ing the  living.  Its  mouth  was  forced  open,  its  tongue 
allowed  to  drop  on  one  side,  and  a  small  rattan  attached 
to  its  upper  jaw  was  passed  over  a  pole  held  by  a  man 
behind.  This  finished,  two  swords  were  produced  and 
placed  crosswise,  and  a  couple  of  Panglimas *  selected 
for  the  dance  ;  the  gongs  and  drums  were  beaten  at  a 
quick  time,  the  man  holding  the  rattan  attached  to  the 
tiger's  head  pulled  it,  moving  the  head  up  and  down, 
and  the  two  Panglimas,  after  making  their  obeisance  to 
the  Sultan,  rushed  at  their  swords,  and  holding  them  in 
their  hands  commenced  a  most  wild  and  exciting  dance. 

1  Chiefs,  especially  with  reference  to  military  functions. 


They  spun  around  on  one  leg,  waving  their  swords, 
then  bounded  forward  and  made  a  thrust  at  the  tiger, 
moving  back  quickly  with  the  point  of  the  weapon  facing 
the  animal ;  they  crawled  along  the  ground  and  sprung 
over  it  uttering  defiant  yells,  they  cut  and  parried  at 
supposed  attacks,  finally  throwing  down  their  weapons 
and  taunting  the  dead  beast  by  dancing  before  it  un- 
armed. This  done,  Inas  told  me  the  carcase  was  at 
my  disposal. 

"  The  death  of  the  tiger  now  establishes  the  fact 
of  the  existence  of  tigers  here,  for  asserting  which  I 
have  been  pretty  frequently  laughed  at.  However 
this  is  not  the  Jugra  pest,  a  brute  whose  death  would 
be  matter  for  general  rejoicing,  the  one  now  destroyed 
being  a  tigress  8  feet  long  and  2  feet  8  inches  high." 

I  may  add  that  both  the  claws  and  whiskers  of 
tigers  are  greatly  sought  after  as  charms,  and  are 
almost  invariably  stolen  from  a  tiger  when  one  is  killed 
by  a  European.  I  have  also  seen  at  Klang  a  charm 
written  on  tiger's  skin. 

The  Deer'1 

Anthropomorphic  ideas  are  held  by  the  Malays 
almost  as  strongly  in  the  case  of  the  Deer  as  of  any 
other  animal. 

The  Deer  is,  by  all  Malays,  believed  to  have  sprung 
from  a  man  who  suffered  from  a  severe  ulcer  or  abscess 
(chabuK)  on  the  leg,  (which  is  supposed  to  have  left  its 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  3,  p.  139.  own    red    deer;    and    the    axis    (A. 

2  "  Two  large   and    four  species  of  maculata)    or   spotted    deer.      Of    the 
small  deer  are  found  in  the  Peninsula,  small  or  Moschine  species,  the  kijang 
besides    the    babi   rusa   or    hpg-deer,  is  the  largest ;  next  to  this  comes  the 
which  however  is  not  a  member  of  the  napuh  ;    the  third  in  size  is  the  lanak  ; 
same   order.     The   large  species  are  :  and    the    smallest   is    the  pelandok  or 
the     sambur      (Rusa      Aristotelis),    a  true     pigmy    deer."  —  Denys,    Descr. 
rather  savage  animal,  larger  than  our  Diet,  of  Brit.  Malaya,  s.v.  Deer. 


trace  on  the  deer's  legs  to  this  day).  Of  the  Perak 
form  of  this  legend  Sir  William  Maxwell  writes  as 
follows  :— 

"  The  deer  (rusa)  is  sometimes  believed  to  be  the 
metamorphosed  body  of  a  man  who  has  died  of  an 
abscess  in  the  leg  (chabiik),  because  it  has  marks  on 
the  legs  which  are  supposed  to  resemble  those  caused 
by  the  disease  mentioned.  Of  course  there  are  not 
wanting  men  ready  to  declare  that  the  body  of  a  man 
who  has  died  of  chabuk  has  been  seen  to  rise  from 
the  grave  and  to  go  away  into  the  forest  in  the  shape 
of  a  deer."1 

The  Selangor  legend  is  practically  identical  with 
that  current  in  Perak. 

The  deer  are  frequently  addressed,  in  the  charms 
used  by  the  hunters,  exactly  as  if  they  were  human 
beings,  e.g.— 

"  If  you  wish  to  wear  bracelets  and  rings 
Stretch  out  your  two  fore-feet." 

These  rings  and  bracelets  are  of  course  the  nooses 
which  depend  from  the  toils. 

In  a  charm  of  similar  import  we  find  :— 

"  Ho,  Crown  Prince  (Raja  Muda)  with  your  Speckled  Princess 

(Ptitri  Dandi), 

Rouse  you  quickly  (from  your  slumbers) 
And  clasp  (round  your  neck)  King  Solomon's  necklace." 

I  may  add  that  in  some  places  the  Pawang  (magi- 
cian) will  himself  first  enter  the  toils,  probably  with 
the  object  of  deceiving  the  stag  as  to  their  nature  and 

The  ceremonies   for  hunting  deer  are  somewhat 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  NO.  7,  p.  26. 


intricate,  and  it  will  perhaps  be  best  to  commence  by 
giving  a  general  description  of  deer-catching  as  prac- 
tised by  the  Malays. 

"  This  pastime  "  1  (deer-catching)  "  is  one  the  Malay 
delights  in.  After  a  rainy  night,  deer  may  be  easily 
traced  to  their  lair  by  their  footprints,  and  as  they 
remain  stationary  by  day  the  hunters  have  ample  time 
to  arrange  their  apparatus.  When  the  hiding-place 
is  discovered  all  the  young  men  of  the  kampong- 
assemble,  and  the  following  ceremony  is  performed 
before  they  sally  out  on  the  expedition  :  Six  or  eight 
coils  of  rattan  rope,  about  an  inch  in  diameter,  are 
placed  on  a  triangle  formed  with  three  rice-pounders, 
and  the  oldest  of  the  company,  usually  an  experienced 
sportsman,  places  a  cocoa-nut  shell  filled  with  burning 
incense  in  the  centre,  and  taking  sprigs  of  three  bushes, 
viz.  the  jellatang,  sapunie,  and  sambon 3  plants  (these, 
it  is  supposed,  possess  extraordinary  virtues),  he  walks 
mysteriously  round  the  coils,  beating  them  with  the 
sprigs,  and  erewhile  muttering  some  gibberish,  which, 
if  possessing  any  meaning,  the  sage  keeps  wisely  to 
himself.  During  the  ceremony  the  youths  of  the 
village  look  on  with  becoming  gravity  and  admiration. 
It  is  believed  that  the  absence  of  this  ceremony  would 
render  the  expedition  unsuccessful,  the  deer  would 
prove  too  strong  for  the  ropes,  and  the  wood  demons 
frustrate  their  sport  by  placing  insurmountable  obstacles 
in  their  way.  Much  faith  appears  to  be  placed  in  the 
ceremony.  Each  coil  referred  to  above  is  sixty  to 
seventy  fathoms  long,  and  to  the  rope  running  nooses, 
made  also  of  rattan  rope,  are  attached  about  three  feet 

1  J.  D.  Vaughan  in  J.LA.  vol.   xi.  of  this  name.      Possibly  it  may  stand 
quoted  in  Denys,  I.e.  for   sarimbun   or    samdau,   the    latter 

2  Village  or  hamlet.  of  which    at    least  is  commonly  used 

3  Sambon.     I  do  not  know  any  plant  by  Malay  medicine-men. 


apart  from  each  other.  On  reaching  the  thicket 
wherein  the  deer  are  concealed,  stakes  are  driven  into 
the  ground  a  few  feet  apart  in  a  straight  line,  the  coils 
are  then  opened  out,  and  the  rope  attached  to  the 
stakes,  two  or  three  feet  above  the  ground,  with  the 
nooses  hanging  down,  and  two  of  the  party  conceal 
themselves  near  the  stakes  armed  with  knives  for  the 
purpose  of  despatching  the  deer  when  entangled  in  the 
nooses.  The  remainder  of  the  hunters  arrange  them- 
selves on  the  opposite  side  of  the  thicket  and  advance 
towards  it,  shouting  and  yelling  at  the  top  of  their 
voices.  The  deer,  startled  from  their  rest,  spring  to 
their  feet  and  naturally  flee  from  the  noise  towards  the 
nooses,  and  in  a  short  time  are  entangled  in  them.  As 
they  struggle  to  escape,  the  concealed  hunters  rush  out 
and  despatch  them.  Occasionally  the  flight  is  pro- 
longed till  the  major  party  arrives,  and  then  the  noble 
creatures  soon  fall  beneath  the  spears  and  knives  of 
their  assailants.  The  animal  is  divided  between  the 
sportsmen." l 

The  "gibberish"  employed  by  the  deer  Pawangs 
when  the  latter  enter  the  jungle  is  intended  to  induce 
the  wood  demons  and  earth  demons  to  recede,  or  at 
least  to  dissuade  them  from  active  interference  with 
the  proceedings.  Charms  are  also  employed  by  the 
Pawang,  as  he  proceeds,  from  time  to  time,  to  "ask 
for "  a  tree  (to  which  the  toils  may  be  fastened) ;  to 
"  ask  for  "  a  deer  ;  to  unroll  and  suspend  the  toils ;  to 
call  upon  the  spirits  (who  are  the  herdsmen  of  the 
deer)  to  drive  the  latter  down  to  meet  the  dogs ;  to 
turn  back  the  deer  when  they  have  got  away ;  to 

1  I  may  add  that  the  first  person  to       neys  (?)  and   the  Paiuang  to  get  the 
draw  blood  is  supposed  to  get  sabatang      other  half. 
daging  ttmbusir,  a  moiety  of  the  kid- 


"prick"  or  urge  on  the  dogs,  or  make  them  bark; 
to  stop  wild  dogs  from  barking  in  the  jungle,  or  those 
of  the  pack  from  barking  at  the  wrong  moment ;  to 
deceive  the  deer  as  to  the  reality  of  the  toils  used  by 
the  hunters ;  to  deceive  the  spirits  as  to  the  identity 
of  the  hunting-party  ;  and,  finally,  to  drive  out  the 
"  mischief"  (badi)  from  the  carcase  of  the  slain  animal ; 
examples  of  all  of  which  will  be  found  in  the  course  of 
the  next  few  pages. 

The  first  charm  which  I  give  is  one  used  in  "  ask- 
ing for  deer  "  :— 

"  Ho  !  master  of  me  your  slave,  Sidi  the  Dim-eyed, 
Si  Lailanang  and  Si  Laigan  his  brother, 
Si  Deripan,  Si  Baung,  Si  Bakar, 

Si  Songsang  (Sir  Topsy  Turvy),  Si  Berhanyut  (Sir  Floater), 
Si  Pongking,  Si  Temungking  ! 
I  demand  Deer,  a  male  and  a  female, 
Blunt-hoofed,  hard-browed, 
Long-eared,  tight-waisted, 
Shut-eyed,  shaggy-maned,  spotted; 
If  not  the  shut-eyed,  the  shaggy-maned  and  the  spotted, 
The  "  rascal,"  the  starveling,  the  mere  skeleton. 
Most  fervently  we  beg  this  boon,  by  the  light  of  this  very  same  day, 
By  virtue  of  the  c  kiraman  katibin.' 1 
And  here  is  the  token  of  my  petition."  2 

The  directions  proceed  :— 
"  On  first  entering  the  jungle,  say — 

"  Ho,  Hantu  Bakar,  Jembalang  Bakar, 
Turn  a  little  aside, 
That  I  may  let  loose  my  body-guard." 

(By  which  the  "pack  "  is  no  doubt  intended.) 

1  Kiramun  katibun  (lit.  "illustrious  tioned  in  the  Koran.      Vide  Hughes, 

writers")  are  the  two  recording  angels  Diet,  of  Islam,  s.v. 

who  are  said  to  be  with  every  man,  2  The    token    consists    in  chopping 

one  on  the  right  hand  to  record  his  down  a  small  tree  and  with  it  piercing 

good   deeds,   and   one  on   his  left  to  the  slot  of  the  deer, 
record  the  evil  deeds.     They  are  men- 


"When  you  meet  the  slot,  examine  the  slot.  If  it  is  a  little 
shortened  on  one  side,  the  quarry  is  in  some  danger ;  if  it  has  gone 
lame  of  one  hoof,  it  is  a  sign  that  it  will  be  killed  within  seven 

"  After  entering  the  jungle,  and  finding  the  dogs,  wait  for  the 
dogs  to  bark,  and  then  give  out  this  '  cooee ' — 

"  Ho  !  Si  Lanang,  Si  Lambaun, 
Si  K£tor,  Si  Becheh  ! 

Ye  Four  Herdsmen  of  the  Deer, 

Come  ye  down  to  meet  the  dogs. 

And  refuse  not  to  come  down 

Or  ye  shall  be  rebels  unto  God,  etc. 

It  is  not  I  who  am  huntsman, 

It  is  Pawang  Sidi  (wizard  Sidi)  that  is  huntsman ; 

It  is  not  I  whose  dogs  these  are, 

It  is  Pawang  Sakti  (the  '  magic  wizard ')  whose  dogs  these  are ; 

Let  Dang  Durai  cross  the  water, 

It  is  only  a  civet-cat  that  is  left  for  me. 

Grant  this  by  virtue  of  my  teacher,  'Toh  Raja — 

May  his  art  be  yet  more  powerful  in  my  hands.1 

By  virtue  of  c  There  is  no  god  but  God,'  "  etc. 

A  deer  Pawang  ('Che  Indut)  also  gave  me  this 
charm  for  recital  when  the  support  (lit.  "shoulder")  of 
the  noose  is  being  cut  (for  which  purpose  it  would 
appear  that  a  young  tree  of  the  kind  called  "  Delik  "  is 
usually  taken). 

"  The  Delik's  branches  spread  out  horizontally  (at  the  top),2 
Chop  at  it,  and  it  will  produce  roots. 

Though  its  bark  is  destroyed,  a  cudgel  is  still  left  for  people's  bones, 
Even  though  it  be  worked  on  by  the  charm  Kalinting  Bakar." 3 

1  Or,  ' '  whose  art  is  more  powerful  '  Peace  be  with  you,  O  'Tap,  Prophet  of  God,  in 

tv-n  mirip  "  whose  charge  is  the  Earth. 

""r ,  I  ask  for  this  tree  (to  enable  me)  to  make  fast 

P  Possibly  an  allusion  to  the  branch-  these  toils.' 

ing  of  the  stag's  horns.     The  last  two  Here  ^         ^  ^  ^          . 
lines  of  this  charm  are  obscure. 

•    3  Another    Pawang    gave    me    the  '  Sir  Tuft '  is  the  name  of  our  rattan, 

following     account,     which     is     much  'Sir  Ring' is  the  name  of  our  toils." 
fuller  :  —  "On    entering    the    jungle  [The  point  of  this  charm  is  that  "  Sir 

carry  the  toils  with  you  till  you  meet  Tuft "  is  an  allusion  to   the  origin  of 

with  the  slot  of  the  deer,  and  then  ask  the  rattan  rope,  which  must  have  come, 

for  a  tree,  saying  as  follows —  of  course,  from  the  "  tufted  "  creeper 


From  the  same  source  I  obtained  this  charm,  ad- 
dressed to  the  Deer,  but  intended  for  fixing  the  scent 
(menetapkan  6au],  and  for  suspending  the  toils  (mema- 
sang  jerat)  :— 

"  Teng l  [stands  for]  the  satengteng  flower, 
Ascend  ye  the  twin  stream. 
If  you  delight  in  bracelets  and  rings 
Push  forward  your  two  fore-feet. 

"When  setting  the  nooses  (bubohkan perindu  jeraf)  say,  address- 
ing the  deer  as  before  : — 

"  Be  filled  with  yearning,  be  filled  with  longing, 
As  the  Holy  Basil  grows  even  to  a  rock, 

Be  filled  with  yearning  as  you  sit,  be  filled  with  yearning  as  you  go, 
Fast-bound  by  love  of  this  noose  of  mine." 

The  directions  given  me  by  another  Pawang  com- 
menced with  a  charm  for  emboldening  the  dogs, 
after  which  the  account  proceeds  : — 

"When  you  have  finished  (the  charm  referred  to),  take  seven 
steps  forward,  leaving  the  toils  behind  you,  and  standing  erect,  look 
forward  and  call  as  follows  : — 

"  O  all  ye  Saids  (lawful  descendants  of  the  Prophet), 
Unto  you,  my  Lords,  belong  the  Deer, 
Si  Lambaun  was  the  origin  of  the  Deer, 
Si  Lanang  is  their  Herdsman, 
Drive  ye  the  Deer  into  our  toils. 

of  that  name.      Similarly,  "  Sir  Ring  "  Sir  Yellow  Glow  knows  all  the  ins  and  outs  of 

is  supposed    to  be  an  allusion  to  the  These  toils  of  ours  are  twofold,  O  let  them  not 
ring  which  formed  the  original  unit  of  be  staled. 

the  toils,  a  collection  of  rings  or  nooses  **%  SWo^SSaTfiST 

The  object  of  mentioning  the  origin  of  If  they  are  staled  by  the  dogs,  let  our  toils  still 
anything  is  that  doing  so  is  supposed  kill  the  quarry. 

1  ,       &  .,  ,  •  i  If  they  are  staled  by  men,  let  our  toils  still  kill 

to  give  one  power  over  the  article  so  ^  quarryj  by  'virtue  ofj.  etc->  etc- .. 

addressed,  v.  p.  156  n.,  supra.}    "Hav- 
ing completed  the  unrolling  of  the  toils,  l  Probably  a  pun  upon  teng,  which 

double  the  connecting  rope  (from  which  was    explained    to    me    as    meaning 

the  nooses  hang)  in  two,  and  when  this  kaki  ta-6'laA  ("one  foot  only"),  as  in 

is  done,  enter  them,  holding  them  by  bMeng-teng,   "to    go   on    one    foot," 

the  connecting  rope  (kajar),  and  say —  to  hobble;    tengkis,   "with    one    foot 

•;  shortened    or    shrunken,"    etc.        The 

'  O  Mentala  (i.e.  Batara)  Guru,  and  Teachers  "satengteng     flower"    was    explained 
one  and  all  (dengan  Guru uru-urv),  and  Sir  ,        , 

Yellow  Glow,  as  another  name  for  the  satawar. 


This  causeway  of  rock  (f if  fan  bahi)  is  your  high  road  and  market- 

The  resort  of  innumerable  people. 
Follow,  follow  in  long  procession, 
And  let  the  "  Assembly  "-Flower  unfold  its  petals. 
Come  in  procession,  come  in  succession, 
Our  toils  have  come  to  summon  you  to  the  spot. 
Ho,  Deer  that  are  unfortunate,  Deer  that  are  curst, 
Enter  this  path  of  mine  which  is  empty  of  men. 
On  the  left  stand  spearmen, 
On  the  right  stand  spearmen, 
And  whichever  of  (those  two)  ways  you  go, 
By  that  self-same  way  will  you  be  turned  back. 

"  Now  proceed  till  you  meet  the  stag,  and  as  he  rouses  himself 
from  slumber,  say  : — 

"  Ho,  Crown  Prince  with  your  Speckled  Princess, 
Rouse  you  in  haste  and  slip  on  King  Solomon's  royal  breast  orna- 

Receive  it,  receive  it  in  your  turn, 
And  do  ye  (huntsmen)  shout  '  Bi '  again  and  again. 

"  [Here  the  spearmen  right  and  left  shout  in  concert.] 
"  So,  too,  when  spearing  the  deer,  say — 

"  It  is  not  I  who  spear  you, 
It  is  Pawang  Sidi  who  spears  you. 

"  When  you  have  secured  a  deer,  flick  (kebaskari)  the  carcase 
thrice  in  a  downward  direction  with  a  black  cloth  or  with 
a  leafy  spray  (if  you  will),  such  as  the  deer  feed  upon,  for  in- 
stance with  the  sendayan  (or  sendereian,  a  kind  of  sedge),  or 
with  fern-shoots,  and  call  out : — 

"  O  Si  Lanang,  Si  Lambaun, 
Si  KStor,  Si  Becheh,  who  are  Four  Persons, 
Take  back  your  own  share  (of  the  carcase).1 

1  The  corresponding  charm  for  driv-  D°  me  n°  harm  °r  scathe. 

ing  out  the  mischief,  given  by  another  "*£SgS?££**  *  sha"  *  con' 

deer   Pawang  ('Che  Indut),  appears  to  Eaten  and  enclosed   in  Disaster  (bintongan), 

be  more  appropriate  :—  ofTh^Koran"'11  by  tbe  ^^  Divisions 

,  - ,.    ,  .  ,  Smitten  by  the  sanctity  of  the  Four  Corners  of 
O  Mischief,  Mother  of  Mischiefs,  tne  g^rth 

MLschiefsOne  Hundred  and  Ninety  (in  number),  By  virtue  of  e'tc.   etc. 
[ 1  know  the  origin  from  which  you  sprang. 

The  mischief  of  an  Iguana  was  your  origin.  Bintongan  was  explained  to  me  care- 

The  Heart  of  Timber  was  your  origin,  f..iiv       --   _  h^nfkana        fralnmitv       or 

The  Yellow  Glow  of  Sunset  was  your  origin,  -  oetunana      (calamity     or 

Return  to  the  places  from  whence  ye  came,  disaster). 



"  Here  '  take  the  representative  parts,  pierce  them  with  a  rattan 
line,  and  suspend  them  from  a  tree.' " 

But  the  fullest  account  of  this  ceremony  (of  driving 
out  the  mischief  from  the  carcase)  runs  as  follows  :— 

"  When  you  have  caught  the  deer,  cast  out  the  mischief  from  it 
(buang  dia-punya  badt).  To  effect  this,  take  a  black  jacket  such  as 
can  cast  out  this  mischief  (if  no  black  jacket  is  obtainable,  take  the 
branch  of  any  tree),  and  stroke  (the  carcase)  from  the  head  down- 
wards to  the  feet  and  the  rump,  saying  as  you  do  so : — 

"  Ho  Badi  Serang,  Badi  Mak  Buta, 
Si  Panchor  Mak  Tuli, 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  the  Junior  Dogboy  who  casts  them  out. 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  the  Dogboy  Rukiah  who  casts  them  out. 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  Mukael 1  (Michael)  who  casts  them  out. 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  Israfel  who  casts  them  out. 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  Azrael  who  casts  them  out. 
It  is  not  I  who  cast  out  these  mischiefs, 
It  is  Mukarael  (?)  who  casts  them  out. 
I  know  the  origin  of  these  mischiefs, 
They  are  the  offspring  of  the  Jin  Ibni  Ujan,2 
Who  dwell  in  the  open  spaces  and  hill-locked  basins. 
Return  ye  to  your  open  spaces  and  hill-locked  basins, 
And  do  me  no  harm  or  scathe. 
I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  spring, 
From  the  offspring  of  the  Jin  Ibni  Ujan  do  ye  spring. 

"  Here  take  small  portions  of  his  eyes,  ears,  mouth,  nose,  hind-feet, 
fore-feet,  hair  (of  his  coat),  liver,  heart,  spleen  and  horns  (if  it  be  a 
stag),  wrap  them  up  in  a  leaf,  and  deposit  them  in  the  slot  of  his 
approaching  tracks,  saying  :  '  O  Mentala  (Batara)  Guru,  one  a  month, 
two  a  month,  three  a  month,  four  a  month,  five  a  month,  six  a  month, 
seven  a  month  (be  the  deer  which  fall)  by  night  to  you,  by  day  to 
me.  One  deer  I  take  with  me,  and  one  I  leave  behind.' " 

A  deer  Pawang  named  'Che  Indut  gave  me  a  charm 

1  This  and  the  four  succeeding  names       Israfel,  Azrael,  and    Gabriel."       Vide 
are  evidently  corruptions  of  the  names       p.  98,  supra. 
of    the    four    archangels,     "  Michael,  2    Vide  pp.  94,  95,  note,  supra. 

v  THE  MOUSE-DEER  179 

for  turning  the  deer  back  upon  their  tracks,  "though 
their  flesh  was  torn  to  rags  and  their  bones  well- 
becudgelled."  It  concluded  with  the  following  appeal 
to  the  spirits  :— 

"  Ho  (ye  Spirits)  turn  back  my  Deer  ! 
If  you  do  not  turn  them  back, 
At  sea  ye  shall  get  no  drink, 
Ashore  ye  shall  find  no  food. 
By  virtue  of  the  word  of  God,"  etc. 

I  will  conclude  with  the  following  charm,  believed 
to  be  a  means  of  bringing  the  stag  low  :— 

"  Measure  off  three  sticks  (probably  dead  wood  taken  from  the 
slot  of  the  deer,  as  in  the  case  of  the  elephant),  their  length  being 
measured  by  the  distance  from  the  roof  of  your  mouth  to  the 
teeth  of  the  lower  jaw.  Lay  these  sticks  in  a  triangular  form  in- 
side the  slot  of  the  stag,  press  the  left  thumb  downwards  in  the 
centre  of  the  triangle,  and  humble  your  heart.  This  will  humble 
the  deer's  heart  too." 

The  Mouse-deer  or  chevrotin  is  the  "  Brer  Rabbit " 
of  the  Malays.  It  figures  in  many  proverbial  sayings 
and  romances,  in  which  it  is  credited  with  extraor- 
dinary sagacity,  and  is  honoured  by  the  title  of  "  Mentri 
B'lukar,"  the  "Vizier  of  the  (secondary)  Forest- 

It  is  generally  taken  by  means  of  a  snare  called 
tapah  pelandok,  but  sometimes  by  tapping  on  the 
ground  with  sticks  (niengetok  pelandok\  the  sound  of 
which  is  supposed  to  imitate  the  drumming  of  the 
buck's  fore-feet  upon  the  ground  in  rutting-time,  by 
which  the  attention  of  the  doe  is  attracted.  Whatever 
the  reason  may  be,  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  method 
is  often  successful. 

When    this    "tapping"    method    is   adopted,    the 

1   In  the  Pllandok  Jinaka,  a  Malay       "  Sheikh  lalam  (or  Shah  'aJam)  di  Rim- 
beast-fable,  the  Mouse-deer   is  styled       6a,"  "  Chief  (or  King)  of  the  Forest" 


charms  used  are  similar  to  those  used  for  calling  the 
big  deer,  e.g. — 

"  Arak-arak  iring-iring 
Kembang  bunga  si  Panggil-Panggil, 
Datang  berarak,  datang  beriring, 
Raja  Suleiman  datang  memanggil. 

Follow  in  procession,  follow  in  succession, 
The  Assembly-flower  has  opened  its  petals. 
Come  in  procession,  come  in  succession, 
King  Solomon  comes  to  summon  you." 

But  at  the  end  of  the  charm  is  added,  "  Ini-lah 
gong-nya"  i.e.  "This  is  his  (King  Solomon's)  gong." 

The  stick  which  is  used  may  be  of  any  kind  of 
wood  except  a  creeper,  and  the  best  place  for  the 
operation  is  where  the  ground  sounds  hollow  when 
tapped.  Either  three,  five,  or  seven  leaves  must, 
however,  be  laid  on  the  spot  before  the  tapping  is 

The  directi9ns  for  setting  the  snare  (jerat  or  tapah 
pelandok}  were  taken  down  by  me  as  follows  : — 

First  look  for  a  tree  whose  sap  is  viscid,  and  chop 
at  it  thrice  (with  a  cutlass).  If  the  splinters  fall,  one 
the  right  and  the  other  the  wrong  way  up  (lit.  one 
prone  and  the  other  supine),  it  is  a  bad  sign  (though  it 
is  a  good  sign  when  one  is  setting  a  trap) ;  for  in  the 
case  of  a  snare  they  must  fall  the  wrong  way  up 

When  this  is  done,  commence  to  set  the  snare 
near  the  foot  of  a  tree,  at  about  a  fathom's  distance, 
and  say  :— 

"  As  a  cocoa-nut  shell  rocks  to  and  fro 
When  filled  with  clay, 
Avaunt  ye,  Jembalang  and  Badi, 
That  I  may  set  this  snare." 


Next  you  say  : — 

"  Ho,  Sir  '  Pointed-Hoof,' 
Sir  'Sharp-Muzzle,' 

Do  you  step  upon  this  snare  that  I  have  spread 
Within  two  days  or  three. 

If  you  do  not  step  upon  this  snare  that  I  have  spread 
Within  two  days  or  three, 

You  shall  be  choked  to  death  with  blood  in  your  throat, 
You  shall  be  in  sore  straits  within  the  limits  of  your  own  Big  Jungle. 
At  sea  you  shall  get  no  drink, 
Ashore  you  shall  get  no  food, 
By  virtue  of,"  etc. 


Hunting-dogs  are  spoken  to  continually  as  if  they 
were  human  beings.  Several  examples  of  this  occur 
in  the  deer  charms. 

Thus  we  find  the  following  passage  addressed  to 
the  dogs  :— 

"  Let  not  go  the  scent, 
Formidable  were  you  from  the  first ; 

Hot-foot,  hot-foot,  do  you  pursue, 

If  you  do  not  pursue  hot-foot, 

I  will  minimise  my  benediction  (lit.  my  '  Peace  be  with  you '). 

If  it  (the  deer)  be  a  buck,  you  shall  have  him  for  a  brother ; 

If  it  be  a  doe,  you  shall  have  her  for  a  wife." 

So  too,  again,  after  calling  several  dogs  by  name, 
the  Pawang  gets  together  the  accessories  (leaves  of  the 
tukas  and  lenjuang,  a  brush  of  leaves  (sa-cherek)  and  a 
black  cloth),  and  exclaims  : — 

"  Bark,  Sir  Slender-foot ;  bark,  Sir  Brush-tail." 

The  Pawang  generally  tries  to  deceive  the  deer  as 
to  his  ownership  of  the  hunting-dogs.  Thus  he  will 
say  : — 


"  It  is  not  I  whose  dogs  these  are, 
It  is  the  magical  deer  Pawang  whose  dogs  these  are." 

So,  too,  they  are  called  by  certain  specific  names 
(according  to  their  breed  and  colour),  which  are  in 
several  cases  identical  with  the  names  of  the  dogs 
with  which  the  wild  Spectre  Huntsman  (the  most 
terrible  of  all  personified  diseases  in  the  Malay  cate- 
gory) hunts  down  his  prey.1 

Ugliness  is  by  no  means  looked  upon  as  a  dis- 
advantage, but  rather  the  opposite.  An  ugly  dog  is 
apparently  formidable.  Thus  we  find  a  dog  addressed 
as  follows  : — 

"  Let  not  go  the  scent  (of  the  quarry) 
As  you  were  formidable  (lit.  ugly)2  from  the  first." 

Again,  the  description  of  the  "good  points"  of 
some  of  these  dogs  which  is  given  in  the  Appendix 
would,  if  ugliness  and  formidability  are  convertible 
terms,  satisfy  the  most  exacting  whipper-in,  the  so- 
called  good  points  being  for  the  most  part  a  mere 
list  of  deformities.  These  points,  however,  are  merely 
the  external  sign  of  the  Luck  to  which  dogs,  as  well 
as  human  beings,  are  believed  to  be  born.  In  a 
fine  passage  we  are  told  : — 

"  From  the  seven  Hills  and  the  seven  Valleys 
Comes  the  intense  barking  of  my  Dogs. 
My  Dogs  are  Dogs  of  Luck, 
Not  Luck  that  is  adventitious, 
But  Luck  incarnate  with  their  bodies. 
Go  tread  upon  the  heaped  and  rotting  leaves, 
And  never  desert  the  scent." 

Speaking  of  dog-lore  generally,  it  may  be  remarked 
that  though  dogs  are  very  frequently  kept  by  the 

1   Vide  p.  117. 
2  Cp.  our  use  of  the  phrase  "  an  ugly  customer,"  -vide  App.  Ixxxi. 

WILD  DOGS  183 

Malays,  it  is  considered  unlucky  to  keep  them.  "The 
dog  ...  is  unlucky.  He  longs  for  the  death  of  his 
master,  an  event  which  will  involve  the  slaying  of 
animals  at  the  funeral  feast,  when  the  bones  will  fall  to 
the  dogs.  When  a  dog  is  heard  howling  at  night,  he 
is  supposed  to  be  thinking  of  the  broken  bones  (niat 
handak  mengutib  tulang patati)" * 

Even  the  wild  dogs  in  the  jungle 2  are  warned  not 
to  bark,  and  are  addressed  as  if  they  were  human  : — 

"  If  you  bark  your  windpipe  shall  burst, 
If  you  smack  your  lips  your  tongue  shall  be  docked. 

If  you  come  nearer,  you  shall  break  your  leg ; 

Return  to  the  big  virgin  jungle, 

Return  to  your  caverns  and  hill-locked  basins, 

To  the  stream  which  has  no  head-waters, 

To  the  pond  which  was  never  dug, 

To  the  waters  which  bear  no  passengers 

To  the  fountain-head  which  is  [never]  dry. 

If  you  do  not  return,  you  shall  die, 

Cursed  by  the  First  Pen  (i.e.  the  Human  Tongue), 

Pierced  by  the  twig  of  a  gomu/i-pa\m,s 

Impaled  by  a  palm  thatch-needle, 

Transfixed  by  a  porcupine's  quill." 

Bears  and  Monkeys 

"  The  Bear 4  is  believed  to  be  the  mortal  foe  of  the 
Tiger,  which  he  sometimes  defeats  in  single  combat. 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  p.  26.  we   shall    not    be   affected   by   them. 

2  The  wild  dogs  of  the  jungle  are  Therefore  do  all  Malays  give  tongue 
considered  by  Malays  to  be  not  natural  when  they  meet  the  wild  dog  in  the 
dogs,  but  "ghost  "dogs  of  the  pack  of  the  forest." 

Spectre  Huntsman.  They  are  regarded  3  Or  Sugar-palm  (Arenga  sacchari- 
ns most  dangerous  to  meet,  for,  accord-  /era). 

ing  to  a  Malay  informant,  "  if  they  bark  4  "  The  Malayan  Sun-bear,  the  only 
at  us,  we  shall  assuredly  die  where  we  animal  of  the  bear  species  in  the  Pen- 
stand  and  shall  not  be  able  to  return  insula.  It  is  also  known  as  the  Honey  - 
home  ;  if,  however,  we  see  them  and  bear,  from  its  fondness  for  that  sweet, 
bark  at  them  before  they  bark  at  us,  It  is  black  in  colour,  with  the  excep- 


(jBruang,  the  Malay  word  for  'bear,'  has  a  curious 
resemblance  to  our  word  'Bruin.'1)  A  story  is  told 
of  a  tame  bear  which  a  Malay  left  in  charge  of  his 
house  and  of  his  sleeping  child  while  he  was  absent 
from  home.  On  his  return  he  missed  his  child,  the 
house  was  in  disorder,  as  if  some  struggle  had  taken 
place,  and  the  bear  was  covered  with  blood.  Hastily 
drawing  the  conclusion  that  the  bear  had  killed  and 
devoured  the  child,  the  enraged  father  slew  the  animal 
with  his  spear,  but  almost  immediately  afterwards  he 
found  the  carcase  of  a  tiger,  which  the  faithful  bear  had 
defeated  and  killed,  and  the  child  emerged  unharmed 
from  the  jungle,  where  she  had  taken  refuge.  It  is 
unnecessary  to  point  out  the  similarity  of  this  story  to 
the  legend  of  Beth-Gelert.  It  is  evidently  a  local 
version  of  the  story  of  the  Ichneumon  and  the  Snake 
in  the  Pancha-tantra. " 

Monkeys  and  men  have  always  been  associated  in 
native  tradition,  and  Malay  folklore  is  no  exception 
to  the  rule.  Thus  we  get  the  tradition  of  the  great 
man-like  ape,  the  Mawas  (a  reminiscence  of  the  orang- 
outang or  mias  of  Borneo),  which  is  said  to  make 
shelters  for  itself  in  the  forks  of  trees,  and  to  be  born 
with  the  blade  of  a  cutlass  (woodknife)  in  place  of  the 
bone  of  the  forearm,  so  that  it  is  able  to  cut  down 
the  undergrowth  as  it  walks  through  the  jungle.  It 

tion    of  a  semi-lunar-shaped  patch  of  l  Bruin  is  also  the  Dutch  word  for  a 

white  on   the   breast,  and  a  yellowish-  bear.     The  Malay  form  Beruang  has 

white  patch  on  the  snout  and  upper  also  been  derived  from  ruang,  which 

jaw.       The  fur  is  fine  and  glossy.      Its  is  assumed,  for  this  occasion  only,  to 

feet  are  armed  with  formidable  claws,  mean  a   "cave,"  in  order  that  Beru- 

and  its  lips  and  tongue  are  peculiarly  ang  may  be  explained  as  meaning  the 

long    and    flexible,    all    three    organs  cave-animal.       There   is  no   evidence, 

adapting  it  to  tear  open  and  get  at  the  however,  to  show  that  ruang  ever  did 

apertures   in  old  trees  where  the  wild  mean  a  cave,  nor  is  the  Malay  bear  a 

bees  usually    build." — Denys,    Descr.  cave-animal. 

Die.  Brit.  Mai.,  s.v.  Bruang.  2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  p.  23. 


is  believed,  moreover,  occasionally  to  carry  off  and 
mate  with  human  kind.1 

The  Siamang  (Hylobates  lar)?  which  walks  on  its 
hind-legs,  is,  however,  the  species  which  is  most 
commonly  associated  in  legend  with  the  human  race ; 
in  fact,  it  is  not  impossible  that  there  may  sometimes 
have  been  a  confusion  between  its  name  (siamang) 
and  Semang,  which  is  the  name  of  one  of  the  abori- 
ginal (Negrito)  races  of  the  interior.  The  following 
Malay  legend,  which  I  took  down  at  Labu  in  Selangor 
is  believed  to  explain  its  origin,  and  also  that  of  the 

Once  upon  a  time  her  Highness  the  Princess 
Telan  became  the  affianced  bride  of  Si  Malim 
Bongsu.  After  the  betrothal  Si  Malim  Bongsu 
sailed  away  and  did  not  return  when  the  period  of 
the  engagement,  which  was  fixed  at  from  three  to 
four  months,  came  to  an  end. 

Then  Si  Malim  Panjang,  elder  brother  of  Si 
Malim  Bongsu,  decided  to  take  the  place  of  his 
younger  brother,  and  be  married  to  the  Princess 
Telan.  The  latter,  however,  repelled  his  advances, 
and  he  therefore  attacked  her  savagely ;  but  she 

1  Cp.  Cliff.,  Stud,  in  Brown  Hum.  bank  of  the  river.     If  any  matter  of 
p.  243  seqq.  (The  Strange  Elopement  fact  person  should  doubt  the  truth  of 
of  Chaling  the  Dyak).  this  tradition,  are  there  not  two  facts 

2  There  seems  to  be  some  doubt  as  for  the  discomfiture  of  scepticism — the 
to  the  scientific  nomenclature  properly  monkey  forts  (called   Batu   Mawah  to 
applicable  to  the  Siamang.  this  day)  threatening  each  other  from 

The  following  is  a  specimen  of  a  opposite  banks  of  the  river,  and  the 
monkey  legend  :  "A  little  farther  up-  assurance  of  all  Perak  Malays  that  no 
stream  two  rocks  facing  each  other,  one  Mawah  is  to  be  found  on  the  left  bank?" 
on  each  side  of  the  river,  are  said  to  — -J.R.A.S.^  S.B.,  No.  9,  p.  48. 
have  been  the  forts  of  two  rival  tribes  3  According  to  another  account,  the 
of  monkeys,  the  Mawah  (Simia  lar)  siamang  is  said  to  have  originated 
and  the  Siamang  (Simia  syndactyla),  in  from  akar  pulai,  i.e.  the  roots  of  a 
a  terrible  war  which  was  waged  between  pulai  tree  (the  Malay  substitute  for 
them  in  a  bygone  age.  The  Siamangs  cork,  used  to  form  floats  for  the  fishing- 
defeated  their  adversaries,  whom  they  nets), 
have  ever  since  confined  to  the  right 


turned  herself  into  an  ape  (siamang)  and  escaped  to 
the  jungle,  so  that  Si  Malim  Panjang  desisted  from 
pursuit.  Then  the  ape  climbed  up  into  a  pagar- 
anak  tree  which  grew  on  the  sea-shore,  and  leaned 
over  the  sea,  and  there  she  chanted  these  words  :— 

"  O  my  dear  Malim  Bongsu, 

You  have  broken  your  solemn  promise  and  engagement, 
And  I  have  to  take  upon  myself  the  form  of  an  ape." 

Now  Si  Malim  Bongsu  was  passing  at  the  time, 
and  on  recognising  the  voice  of  the  Princess  Telan  he 
took  a  blow-gun  and  shot  her  so  that  she  fell  into  the 
sea.  Then  he  took  rose-water  and  sprinkled  it  over 
her,  so  that  she  resumed  her  natural  shape,  and  they 
started  to  go  home  together.  Still,  however,  Si 
Malim  Bongsu  would  not  wed  her,  but  promised  that 
he  would  do  so  when  he  came  back  from  his  next 
voyage,  whereupon  the  Princess  chanted  these 
words  : — 

"  If  you  do  not  return  within  three  months 
You  will  find  me  turned  into  an  ape." 

The  same  course  of  events,  however,  happened  as 
before.  Malim  Bongsu  did  not  return  at  the  time 
appointed ;  his  elder  brother,  Malim  Panjang  once 
more  attacked  her,  and,  leaping  towards  an  areca 
palm,  she  once  more  became  an  ape,  whereupon  she 
chanted  as  before  :— 

"  O  my  dear  Malim  Bongsu, 

You  have  broken  your  solemn  promise  and  engagement, 
And  I  am  forced  to  become  an  ape." 

Again  Malim  Bongsu,  as  he  passed  by,  heard  and 
recognised  her  voice  ;  but  upon  learning  that  he  had 
been  for  the  second  time  the  cause  of  his  Princess's 
troubles,  he  exclaimed,  "  Better  were  it  for  me  were 


I  nothing  but  a  big  fish  "  ;  and  leaping  into  the  water 
he  disappeared,  and  was  changed  into  a  big  fish  as  he 

Now  the  Princess's  nurse  (who  was  called  "The 
Daughter  of  Sakembang  China  ")  was  at  the  same  time 
transformed  into  a  bear,  and  as  they  were  bathing 
at  the  time  when  they  were  surprised,  and  had  not 
time  to  wash  off  all  the  soap  (rice-cosmetic),  the  white 
marks  on  the  breast  and  brows  of  the  bear  and  on 
the  breast  and  brows  of  the  ape  (siamang)  have 
remained  unto  this  day. 

Occasionally  the  opposite  transformation  is  believed 
to  take  place,  some  species  of  the  monkey  tribe  being 
supposed  to  turn  into  fish. 

Thus  the  tira  (Macacus  cynomolgus)  is  believed  to 
develop  into  a  species  of  fish  called  senunggang, 
and  of  the  fish  called  kalul  (kalui  or  kalue),  Sir  W.  E. 
Maxwell  writes  :  "  The  ikan  kalul  (is  believed)  to  be 
a  monkey  transformed.  Some  specially  favoured  ob- 
servers have  seen  monkeys  half  through  the  process 
of  metamorphosis — half-monkey  and  half-fish."  The 
species  of  monkey  which  is  believed  to  turn  into  the 
ikan  kalul  is,  as  I  was  told  in  Selangor,  the  ffrok  or 
"cocoa-nut  monkey." 

"  Ber hakim  kapada  brok  is  a  Malay  proverbial 
expression  which  means,  "'To  make  the  monkey 
judge,'  or,  'to  go  to  the  monkey  for  justice.'  A 
fable  is  told  by  the  Malays  of  two  men,  one  of  whom 
planted  bananas  on  the  land  of  the  other.  When  the 
fruit  was  ripe  each  claimed  it,  but  not  being  able  to 
come  to  any  settlement  they  referred  the  matter  to 
the  arbitration  of  a  monkey  (of  the  large  kind  called 
brok].  The  judge  decided  that  the  fruit  must  be 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  NO.  7,  p.  26. 


divided ;  but  no  sooner  was  this  done  than  one  of 
the  suitors  complained  that  the  other's  share  was  too 
large.  To  satisfy  him  the  monkey  reduced  the  share 
of  the  other  by  the  requisite  amount,  which  he  ate 
himself.  Then  the  second  suitor  cried  out  that  the 
share  of  the  first  was  now  too  large.  It  had  to  be 
reduced  to  satisfy  him,  the  subtracted  portion  going  to 
the  monkey  as  before.  Thus  they  went  on  wrangling 
until  the  whole  of  the  fruit  was  gone,  and  there 
was  nothing  left  to  wrangle  about.  Malay  judges,  if 
they  are  not  calumniated,  have  been  known  to  pro- 
tract proceedings  until  both  sides  have  exhausted 
their  means  in  bribes.  In  such  cases  the  unfortunate 
suitors  are  said  to  ber hakim  kapada  brok."1 

The  Wild  Pig  and  Other  Animals 

There  are  several  superstitions  about  the  Wild 
Boar  which  prove  that  it  was  not  always  regarded  as 
an  unclean  animal. 

Of  these  the  following  recipe,  which  was  given 
me  by  a  Jugra  (Selangor)  Malay,  for  turning  brass 
into  gold  is  the  most  remarkable  :— 

"  Kill  a  wild  pig  and  rip  open  its  paunch.  Sew 
up  in  this  a  quantity  of  old  'scrap'  brass,  pile  timber 
over  it,  burn  it,  and  then  leave  it  alone  until  the  grass 
has  grown  right  over  it.  Then  dig  up  the  gold." 
Again,  certain  wild  boars  are  believed  to  carry  on 
their  tushes  a  talisman  of  extraordinary  power,  which 
is  called  rantei  babi,  or  "Wild  Boar's  Chain." 
This  chain  consists,  it  is  asserted,  of  three  links  of 
various  metals  (gold,  silver,  and  amalgam),  and  is 
hung  up  on  a  shrub  by  the  wild  boar  when  he  is 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  I,  pp.  93,  94. 


enjoying  his  wallow,  so  that  it  is  occasionally  stolen 
by  Malays  who  know  his  habits.  I  may  add  that, 
according  to  a  Malay  at  Langat,  the  "  were-tiger" 
(rimau  jadi-jadian)  occasionally  appears  in  the  shape 
of  a  wild  boar  escaping  from  a  grave,  in  the  centre 
of  which  may  be  afterwards  seen  the  hole  by  which 
the  animal  has  escaped. 

"  Among  the  modern  Malays  avoidance  of  the  flesh 
of  swine  and  of  contact  with  anything  connected  with 
the  unclean  animal  is,  of  course,  universal.  No  tenet 
of  El-Islam  is  more  rigidly  enforced  than  this.  It  is 
singular  to  notice,  among  a  people  governed  by  the 
ordinances  of  the  Prophet,  traces  of  the  observance 
of  another  form  of  abstinence  enjoined  by  a  different 
religion.  The  universal  preference  of  the  flesh  of 
the  Buffalo  to  that  of  the  Ox  in  Malay  countries  is 
evidently  a  prejudice  bequeathed  to  modern  times 
by  a  period  when  cow -beef  was  as  much  an  abomina- 
tion to  Malays  as  it  is  to  the  Hindus  of  India  at 
the  present  day.  This  is  not  admitted  or  suspected 
by  ordinary  Malays,  who  would  probably  have  some 
reason,  based  on  the  relative  wholesomeness  of  buffalo 
and  cow-beef,  to  allege  in  defence  of  their  preference 
of  the  latter  to  the  former."  l 

To  the  above  I  may  add  that  it  is  invariably  the 
flesh  of  the  Buffalo,  and  not  that  of  the  Ox,  which  is 
eaten  sacrificially  on  the  occasion  of  festivities.2  But 
the  flesh  of  the  so-called  White  (albino)  Buffalo 
(kerbau  balar]  is  generally  avoided  as  food,  though  I 
have  known  it  to  be  prescribed  medicinally  (as  in  the 
case  of  Raja  Kahar,  a  son  of  H.H.  the  Sultan  of 

1  J.R.A.S,,  S.B.,  No.  7,  p.  22.  breast-ornament  (dokoh)  hung  round  its 

2  The  sacrificial  buffalo  (when  pre-       neck(z*V&  PI.  n,Fig.  2).     In  the  case  of 
sented  to  a  Raja)  is  covered  with   a      a  great  Raja  or  Sultan,  yellow  cloth  is 
cloth,  and  has  its  horns  dressed  and  a      used. 


Selangor,  the  circumstances  of  whose  illness  will  be 
detailed  elsewhere).1  As  might  be  expected,  a  story  is 
told  by  the  Malays  to  account  for  this  distinction.  The 
general  outline  of  the  tale  is  to  the  effect  that  a  Malay 
boy  (a  mere  child)  fell  into  the  big  rice-bin  (kepok)  in 
his  parents'  absence  and  was  suffocated  by  the  rice. 
After  some  days  the  body  began  to  decompose,  and 
the  ooze  emanating  from  the  rice-bin  was  licked  up  by 
a  buffalo  belonging  to  the  boy's  parents.  The  atten- 
tion of  these  latter  being  thus  attracted  to  the  rice-bin, 
they  found  therein  the  remains  of  their  child,  and 
thereupon  cursed  the  buffalo,  which  (we  are  led  to 
infer)  became  "  white,"  and  has  remained  so  ever 
since.  According  to  one  version,  a  ground  -  dove 
(tekukur)  was  implicated  both  in  the  offence  and  the 
punishment  which  followed  it.  Wherefore  to  this 
day  no  man  eats  of  the  flesh  of  either  of  the  offenders. 

Perhaps  the  most  extraordinary  transformation 
in  which  the  Malays  implicitly  believe  is  that  of  the 
Squirrel,  which  is  supposed  to  be  developed  from  a 
large  caterpillar  called  ulat  sentadu? 

About  the  Cat  there  are  many  superstitions  which 
show  that  it  is  believed  to  possess  supernatural 
powers.  Thus  it  is  supposed  to  be  lucky  to  keep 
cats  because  they  long  for  a  soft  cushion  to  lie  upon, 
and  so  (indirectly)  wish  for  the  prosperity  of  their 

1  Infra,  Chap.  VI.  pp.  450-452.  disiacs    by    the   natives.   .   .   .   Among 

2  I  may  add  that  the  dried  penis  of  them    are    the    ovipositor  of  a   grass- 
the  squirrel  (chtila  tupei)  is  believed  to  hopper,  which  is  popularly  supposed  to 
be  a  most  powerful  aphrodisiac,  and  be    the    male    organ    of  the    squirrel ; 
that  many  Malays  believe  that  squirrels  Balanophora,  sp. ,  a  rare  plant  growing 
are  occasionally  found  dead  with  this  on  Mount  Ophir,  and  the  Durian  (Durio 
organ  caught  fast  in  cleft  timber.  zibetkinus)."     Mr.  Ridley  regards  the 

Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley,  in  a  pamphlet  on  use  of  Balanophora  for  this  purpose  as 

Malay  Materia  Medica,  already  referred  an  illustration  of  the  "doctrine  of 

to,  says  : —  signatures." 

"Many  things  are  used  as  aphro- 


master.1  On  the  other  hand,  cats  must  be  very 
carefully  prevented  from  rubbing  up  against  a  corpse, 
for  it  is  said  that  on  one  occasion  when  this  was 
neglected,  the  badi  or  Evil  Principle  which  resides 
in  the  cat's  body  entered  into  the  corpse,  which  thus 
became  endowed  with  unnatural  life  and  stood  up 
upon  its  feet.  So  too  the  soaking  of  the  cat  in  a  pan 
of  water  until  it  is  half-drowned  is  believed  to  produce 
an  abundance  of  rain.2  It  is,  besides,  believed  to  be 
extremely  unlucky  to  kill  cats.  Of  this  superstition 
Mr.  Clifford  says  : — 

"  It  is  a  common  belief  among  Malays  that  if  a 
cat  is  killed  he  who  takes  its  life  will  in  the  next 
world  be  called  upon  to  carry  and  pile  logs  of  wood, 
as  big  as  cocoa-nut  trees,  to  the  number  of  the  hairs 
on  the  beast's  body.  Therefore  cats  are  not  killed ; 
but  if  they  become  too  daring  in  their  raids  on  the 
hen-coop  or  the  food  rack,  they  are  tied  to  a  raft  and 
sent  floating  down  stream,  to  perish  miserably  of 
hunger.  The  people  of  the  villages  by  which  they 
pass  make  haste  to  push  the  raft  out  again  into 
mid-stream,  should  it  in  its  passage  adhere  to  bank 
or  bathing-hut,  and  on  no  account  is  the  animal 
suffered  to  land.  To  any  one  who  thinks  about  it, 
this  long  and  lingering  death  is  infinitely  more  cruel 
than  one  caused  by  a  blow  from  an  axe ;  but  the 
Malays  do  not  trouble  to  consider  such  a  detail,  and 
would  care  little  if  they  did."8 

Before  leaving  the  subject  of  cats,  I  must  mention 
the  belief  that  the  "  fresh- water  fish  called  ikan  belidah  " 
was  "originally  a  cat."  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell  says  that 
many  Malays  refuse  to  eat  it  for  this  reason,  and 

1  VideJ.R.A.S.,  S.3.,  I.e.  3  In  Court  and  Kampong,  p.  47. 

2  Vide  p.  108,  supra. 


adds,  "  They  declare  that  it  squalls  like  a  cat  when 
harpooned,  and  that  its  bones  are  very  white  and 
fine  like  a  cat's  hairs."1  A  story  is  also  sometimes 
told  to  account  both  for  the  general  similarity  of  habits 
of  the  cat  and  the  tiger  and  for  the  fact  that  the  latter, 
unlike  most  of  the  Felida,  is  not  a  tree-climber.  It 
is  to  the  effect  that  the  cat  agreed  to  teach  the  tiger 
its  tricks,  which  it  did,  with  the  exception  of  the  art 
of  climbing  trees.  The  tiger,  thinking  it  had  learnt 
all  the  cat's  tricks,  proceeded  to  attack  its  teacher, 
when  the  cat  escaped  by  climbing  up  a  tree ;  so  the 
tiger  never  learnt  how  to  climb  and  cannot  climb  trees 
to  this  day. 

Even  the  smallest  and  commonest  of  mammals,  such 
as  Rats  and  Mice,  are  the  objects  of  many  strange 
beliefs.  Thus  "clothes  which  have  been  nibbled  by 
rats  or  mice  must  not  be  worn  again.  They  are  sure 
to  bring  misfortune,  and  are  generally  given  away  in 

So  too  on  the  Selangor  coast  a  mollusc  called  siput 
tantarang  or  mentarang  is  believed  to  have  sprung 
from  a  mouse  ;  and  many  kinds  of  charms,  generally 
addressed  to  the  "  Prophet  Joseph  "  (Nabi  Yusuf),  are 
resorted  to  in  order  to  drive  away  rats  and  mice  from 
the  rice-fields. 

The  following  passage  describes  the  general  ideas 
about  animal  superstitions  which  prevail  on  the  east 
coast  of  the  Peninsula  : — 

"The  beliefs  and  superstitions  of  the  Fisher  Folk 
would  fill  many  volumes.  They  believe  in  all  manner 
of  devils  and  local  sprites.  They  fear  greatly  the 
demons  that  preside  over  animals,  and  will  not 
willingly  mention  the  names  of  birds  or  beasts  while 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  p.  26.  2  Ibid. 


at  sea.  Instead,  they  call  them  all  ch$weh  l — which, 
to  them,  signifies  an  animal,  though  to  others  it  is 
meaningless,  and  is  supposed  not  to  be  understanded 
of  the  beasts.  To  this  word  they  tack  on  the 
sound  which  each  beast  makes  in  order  to  indicate 
what  animal  is  referred  to ;  thus  the  pig  is  the 
grunting  chSweh,  the  buffalo  the  ch£weh  that  says  'uak,' 
and  the  snipe  the  chdweh  that  cries  '  kek-kek'  Each 
boat  that  puts  to  sea  has  been  medicined  with  care, 
many  incantations  and  other  magic  observances  having 
been  had  recourse  to,  in  obedience  to  the  rules  which 
the  superstitious  people  have  followed  for  ages.  After 
each  take  the  boat  is  '  swept '  by  the  medicine  man 
with  a  tuft  of  leaves  prepared  with  mystic  ceremonies, 
which  is  carried  at  the  bow  for  the  purpose.  The 
omens  are  watched  with  exact  care,  and  if  they  be 
adverse  no  fishing-boat  puts  to  sea  that  day.  Every 
act  in  their  lives  is  regulated  by  some  regard  for  the 
demons  of  the  sea  and  air,  and  yet  these  folk  are 
nominally  Muhammadans,  and,  according  to  that  faith, 
magic  and  sorcery,  incantations  to  the  spirits,  and 
prayers  to  demons,  are  all  unclean  things  forbidden 
to  the  people.  But  the  Fisher  Folk,  like  other 
inhabitants  of  the  Peninsula,  are  Malays  first  and 
Muhammadans  afterwards.  Their  religious  creed  goes 
no  more  than  skin  deep,  and  affects  but  little  the  manner 
of  their  daily  life."2 


The  Vegetation  Spirit  of  the  Malays  "  follows  in 
some  vague  and  partial  way,"  to  use  Professor  Tyler's 

1  I  have  not  heard  this  word  used  a  In  Court  and  Kampong,  pp.  147, 

on  the  west  coast.     It  is  of  the  east       148. 
coast  that  Mr.  Clifford  is  here  writing. 



words,  from  the  analogy  of  the  Animal  Spirit.  It  is 
difficult  to  say,  without  a  more  searching  inquiry  than 
I  have  yet  had  the  opportunity  of  making,  whether 
Malay  magicians  would  maintain  that  all  trees  had 
souls  (semangaf]  or  not.  All  that  we  can  be  certain 
of  at  present  is  that  a  good  many  trees  are  certainly 
supposed  by  them  to  have  souls,  such,  for  instance,  as 
the  Durian,  the  Cocoa-nut  palm,  and  the  trees  which 
produce  Eagle- wood  (gharu\  Gutta  Percha,  Camphor, 
and  a  good  many  others. 

What  can  be  more  significant  than  the  words  and 
actions  of  the  men  who  in  former  days  would  try  and 
frighten  the  Durian  groves  into  bearing  ;  or  of  the 
toddy-collector  who  addresses  the  soul  of  the  Cocoa-nut 
palm  in  such  words  as,  "  Thus  I  bend  your  neck, 
and  roll  up  your  hair ;  and  here  is  my  ivory  toddy- 
knife  to  help  the  washing  of  your  face  " ; 1  or  of  the 
collectors  of  jungle  produce  who  traffic  in  Eagle- 
wood,  Camphor,  and  Gutta  (the  spirits  of  the  first 
two  of  which  trees  are  considered  extremely  powerful 
and  dangerous)  or,  above  all,  of  the  reapers  who  carry 
the  "  Rice-soul  "  home  at  harvest  time  ? 

A  special  point  in  connection  with  the  Malay  con- 
ception of  the  vegetation  soul  perhaps  requires  par- 
ticular attention,  viz.  the  fact  that  apparently  dead  and 
even  seasoned  timber  may  yet  retain  the  soul  which 
animated  it  during  its  lifetime.  Thus,  the  instruc- 
tions for  the  performance  of  the  rites  to  be  used  at  the 
launching  of  a  boat  (which  will  be  found  below  under 
the  heading  "  The  Sea,  Rivers,  and  Streams")2  involve 
an  invocation  to  the  timbers  of  the  boat,  which  would 
therefore  seem  to  be  conceived  as  capable,  to  some 
extent,  of  receiving  impressions  and  communications 

1    Vide  p.  217,  infra.  2    Vide  p.  279,  infra. 


made  in  accordance  with  the  appropriate  forms  and 

So,  too,   a  boat  with  a  large  knot  in   the  centre 
of  the  bottom  is  considered  good  for  catching  fish, 
and     in     strict    conformity    with    this    idea    is     the 
belief  that  the  natural   excrescences  (or  knobs)  and 
deformities  of  trees  are  mere  external  evidences  of 
an  indwelling  spirit.    So,  too,  the  fruit  of  the  cocoa-nut 
palm,  when  the  shell  lacks  the  three  "  eyes  "  to  which 
we  are  accustomed,  is  believed  to  serve  in  warfare  as  a 
most  valuable  protection  (pelias)  against  the  bullets  of 
the  enemy,   and  the  same  may  be  said  in  a  minor 
degree  of  the  joints  of  "  solid  "  bamboo  (buluh  tumpat] 
which  are  occasionally  found,  whilst  to  a  slightly  differ- 
ent category  belong  the  comparatively  numerous  ex- 
amples of  "  Tabasheer "   (mineral   concretions  in  the 
wood  of  certain  trees),  which  are  so  highly  valued  by 
the  Malays  for  talismanic  purposes.     Such  trees  as  the 
Mali  mali,  Rotan  jernang  (Dragon's-blood   rattan), 
Buluk   kasap    (rough  bamboo),    etc.,   are  all    said    to 
supply  instances  of  the  concretions  referred  to,  but  the 
most  famous  of  them  all  is  without  doubt  the  so-called 
"cocoa-nut  pearl,"  of  which    I    quote    the    following 
account  from  Dr.    Denys's  Descriptive  Dictionary  of 
British  Malaya. 

Cocoa-nut  Pearls 

The  following  remarks  concerning  these  peculiar 
accretions  are  extracted  from  Nature : — 

"  During  my  recent  travels,"  Dr.  Sidney  Hickson 
writes  to  a  scientific  contemporary,  "  I  was  frequently 
asked  by  the  Dutch  planters  and  others  if  I  had  ever 
seen  '  a  cocoa-nut  stone.'  These  stones  are  said  to 
be  rarely  found  (i  in  2000  or  more)  in  the  perisperm 


of  the  cocoa-nut,  and  when  found  are  kept  by  the 
natives  as  a  charm  against  disease  and  evil  spirits. 
This  story  of  the  cocoa-nut  stone  was  so  constantly 
told  me,  and  in  every  case  without  any  variation  in 
its  details,  that  I  made  every  effort  before  leaving  to 
obtain  some  specimens,  and  eventually  succeeded  in 
obtaining  two. 

"One  of  these  is  nearly  a  perfect  sphere,  14  mm. 
in  diameter,  and  the  other,  rather  smaller  in  size,  is 
irregularly  pear-shaped.  In  both  specimens  the  sur- 
face is  worn  nearly  smooth  by  friction.  The  spherical 
one  I  have  had  cut  into  two  halves,  but  I  can  find  no 
concentric  or  other  markings  on  the  polished  cut 

"  Dr.  Kimmins  has  kindly  submitted  one-half  to  a 
careful  chemical  analysis,  and  finds  that  it  consists  of 
pure  carbonate  of  lime  without  any  trace  of  other  salts 
or  vegetable  tissue. 

"  I  should  be  very  glad  if  any  of  your  readers 
could  inform  me  if  there  are  any  of  these  stones  in 
any  of  the  museums,  or  if  there  is  any  evidence 
beyond  mere  hearsay  of  their  existence  in  the  peri- 
sperm  of  the  cocoa-nut."  1 

On  this  letter  Mr.  Thiselton  Dyer  makes  the 
following  remarks  : — "  Dr.  Hickson's  account  of  the 
calcareous  concretions  occasionally  found  in  the  central 
hollow  (filled  with  fluid — the  so-called  '  milk ')  of  the 
endosperm  of  the  seed  of  the  cocoa-nut  is  extremely 
interesting.  It  appears  to  me  a  phenomenon  of  the 

1  One   of  these    stones    (cocoa  •  nut  nut  in  which   it  was  found,  for  it   is 

pearls)   in  my  possession  has  recently  asserted  that  it  is  usually,  if  not  always, 

been    presented    to    the    Ethnological  found  in  the  open  eye  or  orifice  at  the 

Museum  at  Cambridge.    It  is  encircled  base  of  the  cocoa-nut,  through  which 

by  a  dark  ring,  caused,  I  was  told,  by  the  root  would  otherwise  issue. — W.  S. 
its  adherence  to  the  shell  of  the  cocoa- 


same  order  as  tabasheer,  to  which  I  recently  drew 
attention  in  Nature. 

"  The  circumstances  of  the  occurrence  of  these 
stones  or  '  pearls '  are  in  many  respects  parallel  to 
those  which  attend  the  formation  of  tabasheer.  In 
both  cases  mineral  matter  in  palpable  masses  is  with- 
drawn from  solution  in  considerable  volumes  of  fluid 
contained  in  tolerably  large  cavities  in  living  plants ; 
and  in  both  instances  they  are  monocotyledons. 

"In  the  case  of  the  cocoa-nut  pearls  the  material 
is  calcium  carbonate,  and  this  is  well  known  to  concrete 
in  a  peculiar  manner  from  solutions  in  which  organic 
matter  is  also  present. 

"In  my  note  on  tabasheer  I  referred  to  the 
reported  occurrence  of  mineral  concretions  in  the 
wood  of  various  tropical  dicotyledonous  trees.  Ta- 
basheer is  too  well  known  to  be  pooh-poohed  ;  but 
some  of  my  scientific  friends  express  a  polite  incre- 
dulity as  to  the  other  cases.  I  learn,  however,  from 
Prof.  Judd,  F.R.S.,  that  he  has  obtained  a  specimen 
of  apatite  found  in  cutting  up  a  mass  of  teak-wood. 
The  occurrence  of  this  mineral  under  these  circum- 
stances has  long  been  recorded ;  but  I  have  never 
had  the  good  fortune  to  see  a  specimen." 

The  Durian 

The  Durian  tree  (for  an  account  of  whose  famous 
fruit  the  classical  description  in  Wallace's  Malay 
Archipelago  may  be  referred  to)  is  a  semi- wild  fruit- 
tree,  whose  stem  frequently  rises  to  the  height  of 
some  eighty  or  ninety  feet  before  the  branches  are 

1  Quoted  from  the  Singapore  Free  Press  in  Denys'  Descriptive  Dictionary  of 
British  Malaya,  p.  80. 


met  with.  It  is  generally  planted  in  groves,  which 
are  often  to  be  found  in  the  jungle  when  all  other 
traces  of  former  human  habitation  have  completely  dis- 
appeared, though  even  then  its  fruit,  if  tradition  says 
true,  is  as  keenly  fought  over  by  the  denizens  of  the 
forest  (monkeys,  bears,  and  tigers)  as  ever  it  was  by 
their  temporary  dispossessors.  Interspersed  among 
the  Durian  trees  will  be  found  numerous  varieties  of 
orchard  trees  of  a  less  imperial  height,  amongst  which 
may  be  named  the  Rambutan,1  Rambei,2  Lansat,3 
Duku,4  Mangostin,5  and  many  others.  A  small  grove 
of  these  trees,  which  was  claimed  by  the  late  Sultan 
'Abdul  Samad  of  Selangor,  grew  within  about  a  mile  of 
my  bungalow  at  Jugra,  and  I  was  informed  that  in  years 
gone  by  a  curious  ceremony  (called  Menyemah  durian) 
was  practised  in  order  to  make  the  trees  more  pro- 
ductive. On  a  specially  selected  day,  it  was  said,  the 
village  would  assemble  at  this  grove,  and  (no  doubt 
with  the  usual  accompaniment  of  the  burning  of 
incense  and  scattering  of  rice)  the  most  barren  of 
the  Durian  trees  would  be  singled  out  from  the  rest. 
One  of  the  local  Pawangs  would  then  take  a  hatchet 
(be Hong)  and  deliver  several  shrewd  blows  upon  the 
trunk  of  the  tree,  saying  : — 

"  Will  you  now  bear  fruit  or  not  ? 
If  you  do  not  I  shall  fell  you."  6 

To  this  the  tree  (through  the  mouth  of  a  man  who  had 

1  Nephelium  lappaeum,  L.   (Sapin-  *  Resembling   the   last   named,  but 
daceae).  larger,  and  finer  in  flavour. 

2  Baccaurea   motleyana,    Hook.   fil.  '  G"rcinia    «"•»&«'»*>  L-    (Gutti' 

^uphorbiaceae).  ,     ,„  ,      , 

I     r  °  bakarang  kau  mahu  berbuah,  atau 

'-  Or  Langsat  (Lansium  domesticum,  tidak  ? 

Jack'  Meliaceae).  Kalau  tidak,  aku  tebangkan. 


been  stationed  for  the  purpose  in  a  Mangostin  tree 
hard  by)  was  supposed  to  make  answer  : — 

"  Yes,  I  will  now  bear  fruit ; 
I  beg  you  not  to  fell  me." J 

I  may  add  that  it  was  a  common  practice  in  the 
fruit  season  for  the  boys  who  were  watching  for  the 
fruit  to  fall  (for  which  purpose  they  were  usually 
stationed  in  small  palm -thatch  shelters)  to  send 
echoing  through  the  grove  a  musical  note,  which  they 
produced  by  blowing  into  a  bamboo  instrument  called 
tuang-tuang.  I  cannot,  however,  say  whether  this 
custom  now  has  any  ceremonial  significance  or  not, 
though  it  seems  not  at  all  unlikely  that  it  once  had.2 

The  Malacca  Cane 

No  less  distinct  are  the  animistic  ideas  of  the 
Malays  relating  to  various  species  of  the  Malacca- 
cane  plant.  Mr.  Wray  of  the  Perak  Museum  writes 
as  follows : — 

"  A  Malacca-cane  with  a  joint  as  long  as  the  height 
of  the  owner  will  protect  him  from  harm  by  snakes 
and  animals,  and  will  give  him  luck  in  all  things. 
What  is  called  a  samambu  bangku?  or  daku,  possesses 

1  Ya-lah,  sakarang  aku  'tia£  blrbuah  3  In  Selangor  a  freak  of  this  kind  is 
Aku  minta?  jangan  di-t?bang.  called  samambu  bangkut,  or  "dwarfed 

2  This    instrument    consisted    of    a  (stunted)    samambu."      One    of    this 
single   short  joint   of  bamboo,   about  species  belonged  to  the  Sultan,  and  was 
nine  inches  in  length  by  three  inches  kept   in   a   yellow  case.     Sometimes, 
in  diameter,  closed  at  one  end  only,  whether  through  the  splitting  of  the 
near  which  was  an  orifice  into  which  bark  on  one  side  or  some  similar  cause, 
the    performer    blew.      These    instru-  an  excrescence  like  a  gigantic  rat-tail 
ments   (tuang-tuang)   are  reported    to  will  form  on  one  side  of  the  stem,  a 
lave  been  formerly  used  by  the  Langat  peculiarity  which  is  believed   to  give 
pirates,  and  are  said  to  be  still  used  the  stick  that  is  made  from  it  immense 
by  the   Malay   fishermen  at   Bernam,  value.    To  merely  tap  a  person  in  play 
in   Selangor,    for   calling   their   boats  with  one  of  these   sticks  (which    are 
together.  called    sfngat   part    or    "sting -rays' 


the  power  of  killing  any  one  even  when  the  person 
is  only  slightly  hurt  by  a  blow  dealt  with  it.  These 
are  canes  that  have  died  down  and  have  begun  to 
shoot  again  from  near  the  root.  They  are  very  rare, 
one  of  eighteen  inches  in  length  is  valued  at  six  or 
seven  dollars,  and  one  long  enough  to  make  a  walking 
stick  of,  at  thirty  to  fifty  dollars.  At  night  the  rotan 
samambu  plant  is  said  to  make  a  loud  noise,  and, 
according  to  the  Malays,  it  says,  '  Bulam  sampei,  bulam 
sampei,'  *  meaning  that  it  has  not  yet  reached  its  full 
growth.  They  are  often  to  be  heard  in  the  jungle 
at  night,  but  the  most  diligent  search  will  not  reveal 
their  whereabouts.  The  rotan  manoh^  is  also  said 
to  give  out  sounds  at  night.  The  sounds  are  loud 
and  musical,  but  the  alleged  will-o'-the-wisp  character 
of  the  rattans  which  are  supposed  to  produce  them 
seems  to  point  to  some  night-bird,  tree-frog,  or  lizard 
as  being  the  real  cause  of  the  weird  notes,  though 
it  is  just  possible  that  the  wind  might  make  the 
rattan  leaves  vibrate  in  such  a  way  as  to  cause  the 

In  Selangor  it  is  the  stick-insect  (keranting)  which 
is  believed  to  be  the  embodiment  of  the  "  Malacca- 
cane  spirit "  (Hantu  Samambu],  by  which  last  name 
it  is  most  commonly  called.  These  stick-insects  are 
believed  by  the  Selangor  Malays  to  produce  the  sounds 
to  which  Mr.  Wray  refers,  and  in  order  to  account 
for  their  peculiar  character  a  story  is  told,  the  main 
features  of  which  are  as  follows  : — 

tails  ")  will,  it  is  believed,  raise  a  most  invulnerable     (jadi    pPlias).   —  Cp. 

painful  weal,  whilst  to  strike  a  person  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  17,  p.  155. 

hard    with    one    would   assuredly    kill  *  In   Selangor  bflum  sampei  is  the 

him.     A  Malacca-cane,  one  of  whose  phrase  used. 

knots  is  inverted  and  the  other  not,  is  2  In  Selangor  rotan  manau. 

also  considered  of  great  value,  being  3  Sel.  Journ.  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  pp.  95> 

believed   to   render   the   bearer   of   it  96. 


Once  upon  a  time  a  married  couple  fell  out,  and 
the  husband  surreptitiously  introduced  stones  into  the 
cooking-pot  in  place  of  the  yams  which  his  wife  was 
cooking.  Then  he  went  off  to  climb  for  a  cocoa-nut, 
and  as  he  climbed,  he  mocked  her  by  calling  out 
"  Masak  btlum  ?  Masak  bZlum  ?  "  ("Are  they  cooked 
yet  ?  Are  they  cooked  yet  ?  ").  What  she  did  by 
way  of  retaliation  is  not  clear,  but  as  he  climbed  and 
mocked  her,  she  is  said  to  have  retorted,  "  Panjat 
bZlum?  Panjat  belum?"  ("Have  you  climbed  it 
yet  ?  Have  you  climbed  it  yet  ? "),  a  reply  which 
clearly  shows  that  her  woman's  wit  had  been  at  work, 
and  that  she  was  not  going  to  allow  her  husband  to 
get  the  better  of  her.1  However  this  may  be, 
a  deadlock  ensued,  the  result  of  which  was  that 
both  parties  were  transformed  into  stick -insects, 
but  were  yet  condemned  to  mock  each  other  as 
they  had  done  during  the  period  of  their  human 

I  have  often  from  my  boat,  during  dark  nights  on 
the  Langat  river,  listened  to  the  weird  note  which  my 
Malays  invariably  ascribed  to  these  insects,  and  which 
is  not  inaptly  represented  by  one  of  the  Malay  names 
for  them,  viz.  "  belum-belam"  I  have  not  yet,  how- 
ever, succeeded  in  identifying  the  real  producer  of  the 
note,  of  which  all  I  can  say  at  present  is,  that  although 
it  may  not  be  itself  discoverable,  the  Malays  look  upon 
it  as  a  certain  guide  to  the  localities  where  the  Malacca- 
canes  grow. 

1  Another  Selangor  version  says  that  "  Are    they    cooked    yet  ?  "    (Masak 

whilst  the  wife  is  boiling  the  stones,  the  bllum  f),  as  in  the  version  just  given, 

husband  is  climbing  the  Malacca-cane  and  the  wife  cries,  "  Have  you  reached 

plant  (samambu)  in  order  to  get  to  the  it  yet?     Have  you   reached   it   yet?" 

sky.     The  husband  keeps  calling  out,  (Sampei  bZlum  >) 


The  Tualang  or  Sialang  Tree 

So  too  of  the  Tualang-tree  Mr.  Wray  writes  : — 
"  One  of  the  largest  and  stateliest  of  the  forest 
trees  in  Perak  is  that  known  as  Toallong,  or  Toh 
Allong ; x  it  has  a  very  poisonous  sap,  which  produces 
great  irritation  when  it  comes  in  contact  with  the  skin. 
Two  Chinamen  who  had  felled  one  of  these  trees  in 
ignorance,  had  their  faces  so  swelled  and  inflamed  that 
they  could  not  see  out  of  their  eyes,  and  had  to  be  led 
about  for  some  days  before  they  recovered  from  the 
effects  of  the  poison.  Their  arms,  breasts,  and  faces 
were  affected,  and  they  presented  the  appearance  of 
having  a  very  bad  attack  of  erysipelas.  These  trees 
are  supposed  to  be  the  abiding  -  places  of  hantu,  or 
spirits,  when  they  have  large  hollow  projections  from 
the  trunk,  called  rumah  hantu,  or  spirit  houses.  These 
projections  are  formed  when  a  branch  gets  broken  off 
near  the  trunk,  and  are  quite  characteristic  of  the  tree. 
There  are  sometimes  three  or  four  of  them  on  a  large 
tree,  and  the  Malays  have  a  great  objection  to  cutting 
down  any  that  are  so  disfigured,  the  belief  being  that 
if  a  man  fells  one  he  will  die  within  the  year.  As  a 
rule  these  trees  are  left  standing  when  clearings  are 
made,  and  they  are  a  source  of  trouble  and  expense  to 
planters  and  others,  who  object  to  their  being  left 

"  The  following  series  of  events  actually  happened: 

—A  Malay  named  Panda  Tambong  undertook,  against 

the  advice  of  his  friends,  to  fell  one  of  the  Toh  Allong 

trees,  and  he  almost  immediately  afterwards  was  taken 

ill  with  fever,  and  died  in  a  few  weeks'  time.     Shortly 

1  In  Selangor  it  is  called  Tualang      Alang  ?),  and  is  the  tree  on  which  the 
(='Toh    Alang?)    and    Sialang    (  =  Si       wild  bees  build  their  nests. 

v  BEE  TREES  203 

after  this  some  men  were  sitting  plaiting  ataps l  under 
the  shade  of  another  of  these  ill-omened  trees,  when, 
without  any  warning,  a  large  branch  fell  down,  breaking 
the  arm  of  one  man,  and  more  or  less  injuring  two 
others.  There  was  not  a  breath  of  wind  at  the  time, 
or  anything  else  likely  to  determine  the  fall  of  the 
branch.  After  this  it  was  decided  to  have  the  tree 
felled,  as  there  were  coolie  houses  nearly  under  it. 
There  was  great  difficulty  in  getting  any  one  to  fell  it. 
Eventually  a  Penang  Malay  undertook  the  job,  but 
stipulated  that  a  Pawang,  or  sorcerer,  should  be 
employed  to  drive  away  the  demons  first.  The 
Pawang  hung  pieces  of  white  and  red  cloth  on  sticks 
round  the  tree,  burnt  incense  in  the  little  contrivances 
made  of  the  split  leaf-stalks  of  the  bertam  palm,  used 
by  the  Malays  for  that  purpose,  cut  off  the  heads  of 
two  white  fowls,  sprinkled  the  blood  over  the  trunk, 
and  in  the  midst  of  many  incantations  the  tree  was 
felled  without  any  mishap ;  but,  strange  to  say,  the 
Pawang,  who  was  a  haji^  and  a  slave-debtor  of  the 
Toh  Puan  Halimah,  died  about  nine  months  after- 

There  appears  to  be  very  little  reason  to  doubt 
that  the  word  Tualang  (To/i  Alang  or  Sialang]  is  the 
name  not  of  a  particular  species  of  tree,  but  rather  the 
generic  name  of  all  trees  in  which  wild  bees  have  built 
their  nests,  so  that  in  reality  it  simply  means  a  "  Bee- 

I  have  not  yet  succeeded  in  obtaining  any  of  the 
Malay  charms  used  by  the  collectors  of  these  bees' 
nests,  except  such  as  are  used  by  Sakais  under  Malay 

1  Strips  of  palm-leaves  for  thatching  -  One  who  has  made  the  pilgrimage 

houses.  to  Mecca. 

3  SeL  Journ.  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  p.  96. 




influence  on  the  Selangor  coast,  the  Sakais  being 
most  usually  the  collectors.  Some  of  these  latter, 
however,  were  pure  Malay  charms,  and  may  perhaps 
be  considered,  in  the  absence  of  charms  collected  from 
Malays,  as  evidence  of  at  least  secondary  importance. 
One  of  these  charms  commences  as  follows  :— 

"  Here  is  the  Peeling-knife,  the  knife  with  the  long  handle, 
Stuck  into  the  buttress  of  a  Pulai-Tree."  l 

And  another,  which  is  almost  word  for  word  the 
same,  as  follows  :  — 

"  Here  is  the  Peeling-knife,  the  knife  with  the  long  handle, 
With  which  to  stab  (lit.  peck  at)  the  buttress  of  the  Pulai-Tree."  2 

It  will  be  noticed  that  both  refer  to  the 
by  name,  and  not  to  the  Tualang.  The  footnote  which 
I  here  quote  with  reference  to  the  customs  of  Siak  is, 
almost  word  for  word,  equally  true  of  the  Bee-Trees 
in  Selangor.3 

1  Vide  App.  Ixxxvi. 

2  Vide  App.  Ixxxvii. 

3  "Certain  customs  are  observed  in 
Siak  in   the  collection  of  wax  which 
may  be  mentioned  here. 

"  The  sialang  (that  is,  a  tree  on  which 
bees  have  made  nests)  is  generally  con- 
sidered to  belong  to  him  who  finds  it, 
provided  it  stands  in  a  part  of  the 
forest  belonging  to  his  tribe.  Should 
the  tree  stand  in  a  part  of  the  jungle 
apportioned  to  another  tribe,  the  finder 
is  permitted  to  take  for  once  all  the 
wax  there  is  on  the  tree,  and  ever  after- 
wards, during  his  lifetime,  all  the  wax  of 
one  branch  of  the  tree.  After  his  death 
the  tree  becomes  the  property  of  the 
tribe  to  whom  that  part  of  the  jungle 

"  When  wax  is  collected  from  a  tree 
there  are  generally  three  persons  to 
share  in  it,  and  the  proceeds  are  divided 
as  follows  :  viz.,  one-third  to  the  pro- 
prietor of  the  tree,  one-third  to  the  man 

who  climbs  the  tree,  and  one-third  to 
the  man  who  keeps  watch  below. 
These  two  latter  offices  are  considered 
rather  dangerous,  the  first  because  he 
has  to  climb  the  towering  sialang  trees, 
branchless  to  a  considerable  height,  by 
means  of  bamboo  pegs  driven  into  the 
trunk ;  and  the  watch-keeper  under- 
neath, because  he  has  to  face  the  bears 
and  tigers  who  (so  it  is  said)  come  after 
the  wax  and  honey. 

"The  following  trees  are  generally 
inhabited  by  bees  (lebah},  and  then 
become  sialangs ;  near  the  sea,  pulei, 
kempas,  kayu  arah,  and  babi  kurus ; 
whilst  farther  in  the  interior  ringas 
manuk  and  chempedak  ayer  are  their 
general  habitats. 

"  Besides  the  lebah  there  is  to  be 
found  in  Siak  another  bee,  called 
neruan,  which  does  not  make  its  nest 
on  trees,  but  in  holes. 

"The  regulations  observed  when 
taking  the  wax  of  the  lebah  do  not 


Other  haunted  trees  (pokok  b&rhantu)  are  the 
Jawi-jawi,  the  Jelotong,  and  BeYombong,  of  which 
the  following  tradition  will  perhaps  suffice  :— 

"  All  trees,"  according  to  Malay  tradition,  "  were 
planted  by  'the  Prophet  Elias,'1  and  are  in  the 
'Prophet  Noah's'  charge.  In  the  days  of  King 
Solomon,  trees  could  speak  as  well  as  birds  and 
animals,  and  several  of  the  trees  now  to  be  seen  in 
the  forest  are  really  metamorphosed  human  beings. 
Such  are  the  'Jelotong'  and  the  '  Berombong,'  which 
in  the  days  of  King  Solomon  were  bosom  friends, 
until  there  broke  out  between  them  an  unfortunate 
quarrel,  which  terminated  in  '  Si  Jelotong's '  lacing  the 
skin  of  'Si  Berombong'  all  over  with  stabs  from  his 
dagger,  the  effect  of  which  stabs  remains  visible  to 
this  day.  Si  Berombong,  on  the  other  hand,  cursed 
Si  Jelotong  with  his  dying  breath,  praying  that  he 
might  be  turned  into  a  tree  without  any  buttresses  to 
support  his  trunk,  a  prayer  which  was,  of  course,  duly 
fulfilled.  Thus  originated  the  lack  of  buttresses  at  the 
base  of  the  former  tree,  and  the  laced  and  slashed  bark 
of  the  latter." 

The  Lime-Tree 

Yet  another  tree  whose  spirit  is  the  object,  as  it 
were,  of  a  special  cult,2  is  the  lime-tree,  which  is  revered 
and  looked  up  to  almost  as  their  chief  patron  by  the 

apply  to  the  taking  of  the  wax   and  a  description  will  be  given  of  a  method 

honey  of  the  neruan.     Anybody  is  at  of  augury  by  means  of  one  of  these 

liberty  to  look  for  them  wherever  and  lime  -  fruits    into   which    a   spirit  was 

whenever  he  likes." — F.    Kehding,  in  supposed  to  have  entered.      See  also 

J.K.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  17,  pp.  156,  157.  one  of  the  methods  of  abducting  another 

1  When  the  orchid  was  to  be  planted  person's  soul  by  causing  it  to  enter  into 
it  was  found  that  there  was  no  room  a  bunch  of  seven  lime-fruits.     The  use 
for  it  on  the  ground  between  the  trees,  of  the   lime-fruit    by   the   Malays   for 
and  hence  it  was  planted  upon  them.  purposes  of  ablution  was  no  doubt  of 

2  Under  the  heading  of  Divination  ceremonial  origin. 


theatrical  players  (prang  mayong]  of  Penang.  The 
invocations  addressed  to  this  spirit  show  that,  as  in 
most  branches  of  magic,  every  part  of  the  tree  had  its 
appropriate  "alias."  Thus  the  root  was  called  the 
"Seated  Prince,"  the  trunk  the  "Standing  Prince,"  the 
bark  the  "  Prince  Stretching  Himself,"  the  boughs  the 
"  Stabbing  Prince,"  the  leaves  the  "  Beckoning  Prince," 
the  fruit  the  "  Prince  loosing  an  arrow." 

The  Eagle-wood  Tree 

The  following  account  of  Eagle-wood  and  of  the 
tree  which  produces  it  is  quoted  from  the  Journal  of 
the  Straits  Asiatic  Society : — 

"In  Crawfurd's  Dictionary  of  the  Malay  Archi- 
pelago1 I  find  the  following: — 'Agila,  the  Eagle- wood 
of  commerce.  —  Its  name  in  Malay  and  Javanese  is 
kalambak  or  kalambah,  but  it  is  also  known  in  these 
languages  by  that  oigkaru  or  kayu  gharu,  gharu-wood, 
a  corruption  of  the  Sanskrit  agahru.  .  .  .  There  can  be 
no  doubt  but  that  the  perfumed  wood  is  the  result  of 
disease  in  the  tree  that  yields  it,  produced  by  the 
thickening  of  the  sap  into  a  gum  or  resin.' 

"This  'Eagle-wood  of  commerce,'  under  its  more 
familiar  name  gkaru,  is  one  of  the  rarest  and  most 
valuable  products  of  our  Malayan  jungles,  and  the 
following  notes  may  be  of  interest.  They  are  the 
result  of  inquiries  amongst  the  Malays  and  Pawangs  in 
Ulu  Muar  and  Johbl,  and  I  am  indebted  to  Mr.  L.  J. 
Cazalas  for  much  assistance  in  obtaining  the  informa- 
tion contained  in  them. 

"  The  g/iaru-tree  is  a  tall  forest  tree,  sometimes 
reaching  the  size  of  fifteen  feet  in  diameter.  The  bark 
is  of  a  silvery  gray  colour,  and  the  foliage  close  and 

1  Correctly,  Descriptive  Dictionary  of  the  Indian  Islands  and  Adjacent  Countries. 


dense,  of  a  dark  hue.  The  Malay  name  for  the  tree  is 
"  tabak"  and  no  other  maybe  used  by  the  Pawang 
when  in  search  of  the  kayu  gharu?  Gharu,  the  diseased 
heart-wood  of  the  tabak,  is  found  in  trees  of  all  sizes, 
even  in  trees  of  one  foot  in  diameter,  thus  showing 
that  the  disease  attacks  the  tree  at  an  early  stage. 

"  "^^  gharu  is  found  in  pockets,  and  may  sometimes 
be  discovered  by  the  veins  which  run  to  these  pockets. 
In  other  trees  the  veins  are  absent,  which  renders  the 
process  of  searching  more  difficult.  The  tree  is  gener- 
ally cut  down  and  left  to  rot,  which  exposes  the  gharu 
in  about  six  months. 

"'Pockets'  are  found  to  contain  as  much  as  104 
catties ;  a  single  tree  has  been  known  to  yield  400 
catties.2  Gharu  is  seldom  found  in  the  sap-wood, 
generally  in  the  heart-wood  or  teras. 

"Many  ta<fo£-trees  do  not  contain  gharu  at  all.  To 
select  the  right  trees  is  the  special  province  of  the 
Pawang  or  wise  man.  The  to£o£-trees  are  under  the 
care  of  certain  hantu  or  wood-spirits,  and  it  would  be 
hopeless  for  the  uninitiated  to  attempt  to  find  gharu  ; 
even  the  Pawang  has  to  be  very  careful. 

"  The  following  is  the  process  as  far  as  I  have  been 
able  to  ascertain  it : — 

"  On  the  outskirts  of  the  forest  the  Pawang  must 
burn  incense,  and  repeat  the  following  charm  or 
formula : — 

"Homali  hamali*  matilok  (mandillah?)  serf  a  kalam  mandiyat 

1  The  tree  is  also  in  Selangor  known  Baru  -  &aru,  but  I  cannot  in  any  way 

as    'Aaras    or    tfngkaras,       Tabak   or  vouch  for  this. 

'long  tabak  is  the  name  given  to  the  2  A  catty  (kati)  is  i^  Ib.  avoir. 

tree  by   the  wild  jungle-tribes,   but  I  3  Homali  hamali  looks  like  a  corrup- 

cannot  say  if  it  is  therefore  a  Sakai  tion  of  S'ri  Dang<wwa/a,  S'ri  Dang<7wo// 

word  in  origin.     I  was  told  that  this  in  the  Rice-charms  (</.v.)       Otherwise 

product  eagle-wood  was  also  occasion-  this  first  sentence  is  evidently  too  cor- 

ally  found  in  other  trees,  such  as  the  rupt  to  be  translated. 


serta  teboh.  Turun  suhaya l  trima  suka  turun  kadim  serta  aku 
kabul  kata  gharu  mustajak  2  kata  Allah  Berkat  la  ilaha  il'allah.  Hei 
Putri  Bclingkah?  Putri  Berjuntei,  Putri  Mengi?ijan  4  aku  meminta 
isi  tabak.  TJboleh  di  surohkan,  ttfboleh  lindong  kapada  aku  kalau 
di-suroh  di-lindong-kan  biar  duraka  kapada  tuhan? 

"There  is  no  "pantang  gharu"  except  that  the 
words  "isi"  and  "tabak"  must  be  used  instead  of 
"tras"  and  "gharu"'0 

"He  then  proceeds  to  search  for  a  likely  tree,  and 
upon  finding  one  he  again  burns  incense  and  repeats 
the  spell  as  above.  The  tree  having  been  cut  down, 
the  next  thing  is  to  separate  the  gharu  from  the  sap- 
wood.  The  best  way  is  to  let  the  tree  rot,  but  the 
Pawangis  often  "  hard-up,"and  does  not  mind  wasting 
some  of  the  gharu  in  his  hurry  to  realise. 

"The  following  are  said  to  be  the  tests  for  finding 
gharu  in  a  standing  tree  : — 

1.  The  tree  is  full  of  knots.     (Berbungkol.} 

2.  The  bark  full  of  moss  and  fungus.   (Bertumuh  bcrchandawan.} 

3.  Heart-wood  hollow.     (Berlobang.} 

4.  Bark  peeling  off.     (Bergugor  kulit.) 

5.  A  clear  space  underneath.     (Mengelenggang.} 

6.  Stumps  jutting  out.      (Berchulak.} 

7.  Tree  tapering.     (Bertirus.} 

8.  The  falling  of  the  leaves  in  old  trees. 

"  There  are  great  differences  in  the  quality  of 'gharu, 
and  great  care  is  taken  in  classifying  them.  It  requires 

1  Read  sahya.  no  god  but  God.'      Ho,  Princess  that 

3  Mzistajak:    the   Selangor  form   is  art  Coiled-up,  Princess  that  Danglest, 

"9t&fata6"  Princess   that    Stretchest   forth    (thine 

arms),  I  ask  that  this  tree  may  be  full 

3  BXtngkah:  read  Ar/»#*ar.  of  eagle-wood.     Attempt  not   to  com- 

4  Menginjan  (sic]  :  (?)  Mfnginjau  or  mand  me,  attempt  not  to  conceal  your- 
MZninjau.     A  rough  translation  is  as  self  from  me,  for  if  you  do  you  shall 
follows  :     [The    first    sentence    is   un-  be  a  rebel  unto  the  Lord." 
intelligible.]       "'Come  down   and    I  6  This  statement  must  not  be  accepted 
shall  be  bound  en  to  you.    Come  down,  without  reserve,  though  it  may  be  true 
O  Kadim,  in  company  with  me.'       '  I  of  the  particular  districts  in  which  the 
grant  this,'  says  Eagle-wood.      '  So  be  information   contained  in   this   article 
it,'  says  God.     By  virtue  of  '  there  is  was  collected. 


a  skilled  man  to  distinguish    between    some   of  the 

"  The  names  are  as  follow  :— 

1.  Chandan}  5.   Sikat  Lampam? 

2.  Tandok.  6.  Bulu  Rusa. 

3.  Menjulong-ulong?  7.   Kemandangan. 

4.  Sikat.  8.    Wangkang. 

11  The  chandan  (pada  tiada  champur)  is  oily,  black, 
and  glistening.  It  sinks  in  water. 

"  The  tadak  very  closely  resembles  the  chandan. 

"  The  menjulong-ulong  may  be  distinguished  from 
the  chandan  and  the  tandok  by  its  length  and  small 
breadth.  Splinters,  36  inches  long,  have  been  found 
evidently  from  veins,  not  pockets.4 

"  Sikat  (bertabun  champur  kubal  dan  teras),  fibrous, 
with  slight  lustre,  will  just  float  in  water.  Black  and 
white  streaks. 

"Sikat  lampam — the  same  as  sikat,  only  white 
streaks  more  prominent. 

"Bulu  Rusa  will  float  in  water,  fibrous,  generally 
of  a  yellow  colour. 

"  Kemandangan  floats  in  water,  whitish,  fibrous 
fragments  small. 

"  Wangkang  floats  in  water,  fibrous  blocks  whitish 
in  colour. 

"  The  chandan  tree  differs  from  other gkaru-trzes  in 
having  a  maximum  diameter  of  about  i^-  feet,  and  very 
soft  sap-wood. 

"  Gharu  varies  in  price  between  200  and  50  dollars 

1  In  some  parts  of  Selangor,  said  to  Selangor  gharu  "  ist  kang  tua."  The 

be  called  "  nibong"  or  gharu  "  tulang  following  are  the  names  of  certain 

s.Viini."  other ^ar*/- trees,  of  which  the  product, 

-  In  Selangor  called  gharu  "jfnjo-  however,  is  said  to  be  useless  for 

long.'"  market  purposes.  They  are  gharu 

3  Here  "  lampan  "  (?)  tutor ;  gharu  dtdap,  gharu  kundor,  and 

4  Yet  another  variety  is   called   in  gharu  akar. 


a.pikull  according  to  the  variety.  The  chandan  and 
the  tandok  are  the  most  valuable. 

"  Chinese  and  Malays  burn  it  in  their  houses  on  high 
days  and  festivals  —  the  latter  generally  take  a  supply 
with  them  on  the  pilgrimage  to  Mecca.  The  better 
varieties  are  used  in  the  manufacture  of  aromatic  oils."  : 

Before  setting  out  to  search  for  gharu,  the  gharu- 
wizard  burns  incense  and  repeats  these  words,  "  O 
Grandsire  Duita,  Divinity  of  Eagle-wood,  if  you  are 
far,  be  so  good  as  to  say  so  ;  if  you  are  near,  be  so 
good  as  to  say  so,"  and  then  sets  out  on  his  quest.  On 
finding  a  /£#?m-tree  he  chops  the  bark  of  the  trunk 
lightly  with  his  cutlass,  and  then  puts  his  ear  to  the 
trunk  to  listen.  If  he  hears  a  kind  of  low  singing,  or 
rather  whispering  noise  (bunyi  ting  ting]  in  the  tree, 
he  takes  this  as  a  signification  that  the  tree  contains 
gharu  (zsi),3  and  after  marking  the  bark  with  a  cross 
(silang  ampat)  he  collects  wood  to  build  a  temporary 
shelter  (pondong)  for  himself,  and  when  about  to  plant 
the  first  post  repeats  the  following  charm  :  — 

"  O  Grandsire  Batara  of  the  Earth,  Earth-Genie,  Earth-Spirit, 
Idol  of  Iron,  Son  of  Wani,  Solitary  Wani, 
Son  of  Wayah,  Bandan  the  Solitary, 
I  ask  you  to  show  me  (an  eagle-wood  tree), 
If  you  do  not  do  so 
You  shall  be  a  rebel  against  God,"  etc. 

The  result  of  this  invocation  is,  or  should  be,  that 
the  ^flr^-spirit  appears  to  the  wizard  (generally,  no 

1  Apikulis  133^  Ibs.  avoir.  heard,  even  without  putting  the  ear  to 

vTD-rD^ccaxr  the  bark>  when  the  tree  was  struck  by 

,»  K.JN.U.    in  J.K.A.S.,  .X^.,   JNo.  the  cutlass.    The  Malays,  however,  look 

l8>  PP-  359-301-  upon  it  as  the  voice  of  the  spirit,  and  add 

3  On  putting  this  theory  to  the  test,  thatifyouhearitatnightyou  must  repeat 

I  found  that  the  singing  noise  referred  the  charm,  altering  the  first  line  only 

to  was  in  reality  nothing  but  the  low  to  "  Ho,  offspring  of  the  King  of  Forest 

whispering  noise  caused  by  the  flow  of  Butterflies  "  (Hei  anak  S'ri  Rama-rama 

the    sap,    which    could    be    distinctly  hutan). 


doubt,  in  a  dream),  and  informs  him  what  kind  of 
sacrifice  he  requires  on  this  particular  occasion.  What- 
ever kind  of  sacrifice  is  asked  for,  must  of  course  be 
given,  with  the  exception  of  a  human  sacrifice  which,  as 
it  is  expressly  stated,  may  be  compounded  by  the  sacrifice 
of  a  fowl. 

When  the  tree  has  been  felled  you  must  be  ex- 
ceedingly careful  to  see  that  nobody  passes  between 
the  end  of  the  fallen  trunk  and  the  stump ;  whoever 
does  so  will  surely  be  killed  by  the  "eagle- wood 
spirit,"  who  is  supposed  to  be  extremely  powerful  and 
dangerous.  I  myself  received  a  warning  to  this  effect 
from  some  Labu  Malays  when  I  saw  one  of  these  trees 
felled.  Malays  maintain  that  men  are  frequently 
killed  by  this  spirit  (mati  de  Hantu  Gharu),  but  that 
they  may  be  recalled  to  life  if  the  following  recipe  is 
acted  upon  : — "  Take  two  '  cubits  '  (?)  of  '  Panchong 
leaves '  (daun  panchong  dua  heta),  flowers  of  the 
sunting  mambang,  and  '  bullock's  eye '  limes  (limau 
mata  kerbau],  squeeze  [the  limes  (?)]  and  rub  them  over 
the  corpse,  saying,  '  Sir  Allah  !  Sir  Mangga  Tangan ! 
God's  Essence  is  in  your  heart  (lit.  liver).  God's  attri- 
butes are  in  your  eyes.  Go  and  entertain  the  male 
Borer-Bee  that  is  in  your  heart  and  liver.'  The  dead 
man  will  then  revive  and  stand  upon  his  feet." 

The  most  important  point  about  eagle-wood,  how- 
ever, from  the  animistic  point  of  view,  is  the 
Pawang's  use  of  the  gharu  merupa,  a  strangely 
shaped  piece  of  eagle-wood  which  possesses  a  natural 
resemblance  to  some  animal  or  bird.  It  is  believed 
to  contain  the  soul  of  the  tree,  and  therefore  is  always, 
when  possible,  carried  by  the  collectors  of  eagle- 
wood  in  the  belief  that  it  will  aid  them  in  their  search. 
I  myself  once  owned  one  of  these  gharu  merupa, 


which  possessed  a  remarkable  resemblance  to  a  bird. 
This  appears  to  me  very  fairly  sufficient  evidence  to 
prove  that  the  tree-soul  is  not  supposed  by  the  Malays 
necessarily  to  resemble  a  tree.1 

The  following  account  of  the  superstitious  notions 
connected  with  the  search  for  Camphor  (kapur 
Barus)  is  extracted  from  a  paper  by  Messrs.  H.  Lake 
and  H.  J.  Kelsall2:- 

"  The  chief  interest  attaching  to  the  Kapur  Barus 
in  Johor  lies  in  the  superstitions  connected  with  the 
collection  of  the  camphor  by  the  natives,  or  Orang 

"  Amongst  these  superstitions  the  most  important  is 
the  use  of  a  special  language,  the  subject  of  the  present 
paper,  which  has  been  the  means  of  preserving  some 
remnants  of  the  aboriginal  dialects  of  this  part  of  the 
Malay  Peninsula.  This  language  is  called  by  the 
Orang  Hulu  "  Pantang  Kapur  "  ;  pantang  means  for- 
bidden or  tabooed,  and  in  this  case  refers  to  the  fact 
that  in  searching  for  the  camphor  the  use  of  the 
ordinary  Malay  language  is  pantang,  or  forbidden. 
In  addition  to  this  there  are  restrictions  as  to  food,  etc. 

1  "  Thegaharu  merupa  is  a  piece  of  it  in  hand,  the  holder  is  sure  to  make 

strangely  formed  gaharu  wood,  having  large    finds    of  gaharu   wood   in    the 

a  rough  resemblance  to   some   living  jungle. 

creature,  be  it  a  bird,  a  dog,  a  cat,  or  "Thegatiaru  wood  is  not  the  wood 

something  else.  of  a  tree  named  gaharu,   but   is   the 

"  The  writer  of  these  lines  has  never  product  of  a  tree  of  the  name  of  karas." 

been  able  to  see  one  of  these  gaharu  — -J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  17,  p.  154. 

merupa,  and  it  would  seem  that  none  2  J.R.  A. S.,  S.B.,  No.  26,  pp.  39, 40. 

have    been    found    in    Siak    in  recent  3  Orang  hulu  literally  means  "  men 

times.  of  the  inland  country,"  but  here  denotes 

"  The  power  which  it  is  believed  to  especially  the  aborigines  known  to  the 

possess  rests  on  the  supposition  that  it  Malays  as  Jakun,  orang  hutan,  orang 

is  the  spirit  of  the  kayu  gaharu.     With  bukit,  and  by  other  names. 


"  This  Camphor  language  is  first  referred  to  by  Mr. 
Logan  in  his  account  of  the  aboriginal  tribes  of  the 
Malay  Peninsula,1  and  he  gives  a  list  of  eighty 
words,  thirty-three  of  which  are  Malay  or  derived 
from  Malay." 

"  The  Jakuns  believe  that  there  is  a  "  bisan"  or 
spirit,  which  presides  over  the  camphor-trees,  and 
without  propitiating  this  spirit  it  is  impossible  to 
obtain  the  camphor.  This  bisan  makes  at  night 
a  shrill  noise,  and  when  this  sound  is  heard  it  is  a 
sure  sign  that  there  are  camphor- trees  near  at  hand. 
(This  bisan  is  really  one  of  the  Cicadas  which  are 
so  numerous  in  the  Malayan  jungles.) 

"When  hunting  for  camphor  the  natives  always 
throw  a  portion  of  their  food  out  into  the  jungle  before 
eating,  as  an  offering  to  the  bisan. 

"No  prayers  are  offered  up,  but  all  food  must  be 
eaten  dry,  i.e.  without  sumbul?  or  stewed  fish,  or  vege- 
tables. Salt  must  not  be  pounded  fine ;  if  it  is  eaten 
fine,  the  camphor  when  found  will  be  in  fine  grains ; 
but  if  eaten  coarse  the  grains  of  camphor  will  be  large. 
In  rainy  weather  the  cry  of  the  bisan  is  not  heard. 
At  certain  seasons  regular  parties  of  Jakuns,  and 
sometimes  Malays,  go  into  the  jungle  to  search  for 
camphor,  and  they  remain  there  as  long  as  three  or 
four  months  at  a  time.  Not  only  must  the  men  who 
go  into  the  jungle  to  search  for  the  camphor  speak 
the  '  Pantang  Kapur,'  but  also  the  men  and  women 
left  at  home  in  the  Kampongs. 

"  The  camphor  occurs  in  the  form  of  small  grains 
deposited  in  the  cracks  in  the  interior  of  the  trunk 

1  J.  I.  A.,  vol.  i.  p.  293.     Nos.  i,  a  Sic:  no  doubt  this  is  for  samdat,  a 

3,  and  8  of  thzJ.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  contain       variety  of  condiments  (more  or  less  re- 
further  notes  on  the  subject.  sembling  chutney)  and  eaten  with  curry. 




of  the  tree.  Camphor  is  only  found  in  the  older 
trees,  and  not  in  all  of  these,  and  to  obtain  it  the 
tree  must  be  cut  down  and  split  up.  There  are 
certain  signs  which  indicate  when  a  tree  contains 
camphor,  one  of  which  is  the  smell  emitted  from  the 
wood  when  chipped.  A  man  who  is  skilled  in  detect- 
ing the  presence  of  camphor  is  called  Penghulu  Kapur.1 
The  camphor  when  taken  away  from  the  tree  is  washed, 
and  all  chips  of  wood  and  dirt  carefully  removed,  and 
it  is  then  sold  to  Chinese  traders  at  Kwala  Indau  at 
prices  varying  according  to  the  quality  from  $15  to 
$40  per  katti. 

"  The  Camphor  language  consists  in  great  part  of 
words  which  are  either  Malay  or  of  Malay  origin,  but 
contains,  as  above  mentioned,  a  large  number  of 
words  which  are  not  Malay,  but  which  are  presum- 
ably remnants  of  the  original  Jakun  dialects,  which  are 
apparently  almost  obsolete  otherwise  in  the  Indau  and 
Sembrong  districts  of  Johor." 2 

1  Penghulu  Kapur,   i.e.   "Camphor 

2  "  Camphor  is  a  gum  (not  the  pith 
or    heart  of  wood,    as  Avicenna    and 
some  others  think),  which,  falling  into 
the  pith-chamber  of  the  wood,  is  ex- 
tracted   thence  or    exudes    from    the 
cracks.      This  I  saw  in  a  table  of  cam- 
phor wood  at  a  certain    apothecary's, 
and  in   a   piece  of  wood  as  thick  as 
the  thigh,  presented  to  me  by  Gover- 
nor John  Crasto,  and  again  in  a  tablet 
a  span  broad  at  a  merchant's.      I  would 
not,  however,  deny  that  it  may  some- 
times be  deposited  in  the  hollow  of  a 
tree.      It  is  told  me  as  a  fact,  that  it  is 
the  custom   that  when  any  one  who 
goes   out   to  collect   it   has  filled  his 
gourd,  if  any  other  stronger  person  sees 
him  with  the  gourd,  he  can  kill  him 
with  impunity  and  take  away  the  gourd, 
fortune  assisting  him  in  this.      That 
which  is  brought  from  Borneo  is  usually 

mixed  with  small  bits  of  stone,  or  some 
kind  of  gum  called  Chamderros,  much 
like  raw  sugar  or  sawdust.  But  this  de- 
fect is  easily  detected  ;  I  know  no  other 
method  of  adulteration.  For  if  some- 
times it  is  seen  to  be  spotted  with  red  or 
blackish  dots,  that  is  due  to  treatment 
with  dirty  or  impure  hands,  or  they  may 
be  caused  by  moisture.  But  this  de- 
fect is  easily  remedied  by  the  Indians. 
If  it  is  tied  up  in  a  cloth  and  dipped 
in  warm  water  to  which  soap  and  lime- 
juice  has  been  added,  and  then  care- 
fully dried  in  the  shade,  it  becomes 
very  white,  the  weight  not  being 
altered.  I  saw  this  done  by  a  Hindu 
friend  who  entrusted  me  with  the 
secret.  .  .  .  What  they  say  as  to  all 
kinds  of  animals  flying  together  to  its 
shade  to  escape  the  fiercer  beasts  is 
fabulous.  Nor  is  it  what  some,  follow- 
ing Serapion,  write  less  so,  namely, 
that  it  is  an  omen  of  larger  yields  when 



The  trees  from  which  Gutta-percha  is  taken  are 
also  supposed  to  be  inhabited  by  a  spirit ;  but  this, 
the  Gutta-spirit,  being  far  less  dangerous  than  the 
Eagle-wood  spirit,  fewer  precautions  are  taken  in 
dealing  with  it.  In  the  invocation  addressed  to  the 
Gutta-spirit,  the  petitioner  asks  for  the  boon  of  a 
drop  of  the  spirit's  blood,  which  of  course  is  an 
indirect  way  of  asking  for  the  tree's  sap. 

Here  is  a  specimen  of  the  charms  used  by  the 
gutta-collectors  :•— 

"  Ho,  Prince  S'ri  Bali, 
Prince  S'ri  Bandang, 

I  wish  to  crave  the  boon  of  a  drop  of  blood  ; 
May  the  yield  be  better  than  from  this  notch  of  mine. 

(Here  the  speaker  notches  the  tree.) 

"If  it  be  not  better 
You  shall  be  a  rebel  unto  God,"  etc.1 

the  sky  glitters  with  frequent  lightning,  "The  gratuity  to  be  given  to  the 

or  echoes  with  constant  thunder.     For  Pawang  is   not  fixed   by  law,  but   is 

as  the  island  of  Sumatra,  which  some  settled  beforehand  on  every  expedition ; 

think  to  be  Taprobane,  and  the  adjacent  also  the  share  of  the  Sultan, 

regions  are  near  the  equinoctial   line,  "  The  regulations  which  have  to  be 

it  follows  that  they  are  subject  to  con-  observed  when  collecting  camphor  are 

stant  thunderstorms,  and  for  the  same  most  strange ;  for  instance,  those  who 

cause  have  storms  or   slight  showers  go  on  the  expedition  are  not  permitted 

every  day ;    so  camphor  ought  to  be  during  the  whole  time  of  its  duration 

abundant  every  year.     From  which  it  to  wash  or  bathe  ;  they  have  to  use  a 

is  clear  that  the  thunder  is  neither  the  peculiar  language,  which  differs  from 

cause  nor  indication  of  a  larger  supply  ordinary    Malay.       Compare   what    is 

of  camphor." — Garcia  in  the  Historia  known  on  this  point  of  similar  usages 

Aromatum  (1593),  quoted  mJ.R.A. S.,  amongst  the  Battaks. 

S.B.,  No.  26,  p.  37.  "The  collectors  ha  veto  go  on  through 

"The  camphor  is  so  far  considered  the  jungle  until  the  hantu  kapur  (the 

as  a  barang  larangan  that  nobody  is  camphor  spirit),  a  female,  appears  to 

allowed   to  go  and  collect  it  without  the  Pawang  in  his  dreams,  and  shows 

having  a  special  permit  from  the  Sultan.  him  the  direction  in  which  success  may 

This  permit  is  only  given  after  the  Sultan  be  expected."— -J.R.A.S.,S.B.,  No.  17, 

has  made  sure  that  a  good  Pawang  ac-  pp.  1*55,  156.     This  account  has  refer- 

companies  the  party,  a  man  who  is  able  ence  to  Siak,  in  Sumatra, 

to  know  from    the  outside  of  a   tree  ,    y.JfA       lxxxix 
whether  it  contains  camphor  or  not. 


The  Cocoa-nut  Palm 

The  following  instructions  to  be  followed  by  toddy- 
collectors  (who  tap  the  Cocoa-nut  palm  for  its  juice, 
which  is  boiled  into  sugar)  were  given  me  by  a 
Kelantan  Malay  ('Che  'Abas  of  Klanang)  :— 

"  When  you  are  about  to  set  foot  against  the 
base  of  the  trunk  (i.e.  to  start  climbing)  repeat  these 
lines  :  — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Abubakar  ! 
Drowse  not  as  you  keep  watch  and  ward  in  the  heart  of  this  tree 

Here  climb  half-way  up  and  say  :— 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  Little  Sister,  Handmaiden  Bidah, 
Drowse  not  as  you  keep  watch  and  ward  in  the  middle  of  the 

Come  and  accompany  me  on  my  way  up  this  tree." 

Here  climb  up  among  the  leaf-stalks,  lay  hold  of  the 
central  shoot,  give  it  three  shakes,  and  say  — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  Little  Sister,  Youngest  of  the  Princesses, 
Drowse  not  as  you  keep  watch  and  ward  over  the  central  shoot, 
Do  you  accompany  me  on  my  way  down  this  tree." 

Now  commence  by  bending  down  one  of  the  blossom- 
sheaths,  lay  hold  of  the  central  shoot,  and  thrice 
repeat  the  following  lines  :— 

"  Peace  be  with  your  Highnesses,  Princesses  of  the  Shorn  Hair  and 

(perpetual)  Distillation, 
Who  are  (seen)  in  the  curve  (lit.  swell)  and  the  ebbing  away  of 

the  Blossom-sheath, 

Of  the  Blossom-sheath  Si  Gedebeh  Mayang, 
Seven  Princesses  who  are  the  Handmaidens  of  Si  Mayang." 

(Here  the  speaker  addresses  the  soul  (or  rather  souls) 
of  the  tree.) 


Come  hither,  Little  One,  come  hither, 

Come  hither,  Tiny  One,  come  hither, 

Come  hither,  Bird,  come  hither, 

Come  hither,  Filmy  One,  come  hither. 

Thus  I  bend  your  neck, 

Thus  I  roll  up  your  hair, 

And  here  is  an  Ivory  Toddy-knife  to  help  the  washing  of  your  face. 

Here  is  an  Ivory  Toddy-knife  to  cut  you  short, 

And  here  is  an  Ivory  Cup  to  hold  under  you, 

And  there  is  an  Ivory  Bath  that  waits  below  for  you. 

Clap  your  hands  and  splash  in  the  Ivory  Bath, 

For  it  is  called  the  '  Sovereign  Changing  Clothes.' " l 

Rules  for  planting  various  Crops 

The  following  rules  have  an  evident  bearing  upon 
the  subject  of  vegetable  animism.  They  were  collected 
at  Langat,  in  Selangor  : — 

The  time  to  plant  Sugar-cane  is  at  noon  :  this  will 
make  it  sweeter,  by  drying  up  the  juice  and  leaving 
the  saccharine  matter.  If  you  plant  it  in  the  early 
morning  its  joints  will  be  too  long,  if  in  the  middle 
of  the  day  they  will  be  short. 

Plant  Maize  with  a  full  stomach,  and  let  your 
dibble  be  thick,  as  this  will  swell  the  maize  ear. 

For  Plantains  (or  Bananas)  you  must  dig  a  big 
hole,  and  the  evening  is  the  time  to  plant  them.  The 
evening  is  the  quicker,  and  if  planted  after  the  evening 
meal  they  fill  out  better. 

Plant  Sweet  Potatoes  on  a  starry  night  to  ensure 
their  filling  out  properly  (by  getting  plenty  of  eyes  ?) 

Plant  Cucumbers  and  Gourds  on  a  dark  moonless 

1  These  last  five  lines  contain  allu-  is   received.     The  Ivory   Bath  is   the 

lions  to  the  implements  with  which  the  copper  in  which  the  cocoa-nut  sugar  is 

Paivang  does    his    work  ;     the   Ivory  made,  the  name  given  to  it  being  an 

Cup   is    the   tagok,    a   bamboo  vessel  allusion  to  the  chemical  change  which 

in  which  the  sap  of  the  Blossom-shoot  accompanies  the  process. 


night,  to  prevent  them  from  being  seen  and  devoured 
by  fire-flies  (api-api). 

Plant  Cocoa  -  nuts  when  the  stomach  is  over- 
burdened with  food  (kalau  kita  'nak  sangat  beraK] ; 
run  quickly  and  throw  the  cocoa-nut  into  the  hole 
prepared  for  it  without  straightening  the  arm  ;  if  you 
straighten  it  the  fruit -stalk  will  break.  Plant  them 
in  the  evening,  so  that  they  may  bear  fruit  while 
they  are  still  near  the  ground.  When  you  pick  seed 
cocoa-nuts  off  the  tree  somebody  should  stand  at  the 
bottom  of  the  tree  and  watch  whether  the  "  monkey- 
face  "  of  each  seed  cocoa-nut,  as  it  is  thrown  down, 
turns  either  towards  himself  or  the  base  of  the  tree, 
or  whether  it  looks  away  from  both.  In  the  former 
case  the  seed  will  be  good,  in  the  latter  it  is  not 
worth  planting. 

Plant  Rice  in  the  early  morning,  about  five,  because 
that  is  the  hour  at  which  infants  (the  Rice  Soul  being 
considered  as  an  infant)  get  up. 

The  Cultivation  of  Rice 

The  most  important  contribution  of  the  Malays 
to  the  animistic  theory  of  vegetation  is  perhaps  to  be 
found  in  the  many  strange  ceremonies  with  which 
they  surround  the  culture  of  Rice.  In  order  to 
properly  understand  the  significance  of  these  cere- 
monies, however,  a  proper  understanding  of  the 
Malay  system  of  rice  -  planting  is  essential,  and  I 
therefore  quote  in  extenso  a  description  of  rice- 
culture,  which  possesses  the  additional  interest  of 
being  translated  from  the  composition  of  a  Malay  : *- 

"  It  is  the  established  custom  in  Malacca  territory 

1  Inche  Muhammad  Ja'far,  of  Malacca. 


to  plant  rice  once  a  year,  and  the  season  for  doing 
so  generally  falls  about  the  month  of  Zilka'idah  or 

"  In  starting  planting  operations,  however,  the 
object  is,  if  possible,  to  coincide  with  the  season 
when  the  West  wind  blows,  because  at  that  time  there 
are  frequent  rains,  and  accordingly  the  earth  of  the 
rice-field  becomes  soft  and  easy  to  plough.  Moreover, 
in  planting  rice  it  is  an  invariable  rule  that  there  must 
be  water  in  the  field,  in  order  that  the  rice  may  sprout 
properly  ;  though,  on  the  other  hand,  if  there  is  too 
great  a  depth  of  water  the  rice  is  sure  to  die.  It 
has  also  been  observed  that  as  a  rule  the  season  of 
the  West  wind  coincides  with  the  fourth  month 2  of 
the  Chinese  calendar,  and  sometimes  also  with  the 
month  of  Zilka'idah  or  Zilhijah.8 

"  2.  In  olden  time  the  order  of  planting  operations 
was  as  follows:  —  First,  the  elders  had  to  hold  a 
consultation  with  the  Pawang ;  then  the  date  was 
fixed ;  then  Maulud*  prayers  were  read  over  the 
'mother-seed,'  and  benzoin,  (incense)  supplied  by  the 
Pawang,  was  burned ;  then  all  the  requisites  for  rice- 
planting  were  got  ready,  viz.  :— 

1  [In   1893  these  months  extended  are  required.     This  is  not,  of  course, 
from  the  iyth  May  to  the  I4th  July.  intended  to  be  an  exhaustive  descrip- 
— C.O.B.]  tion  of  the  differences  between  the  two 

2  [In  1893  from  the   i6th  May  to  systems  (for  which   there   is  here  no 
the  1 3th  June. — C.O.B.]  space),  but  merely  to  point  out  certain 

3  In  what  may  be  called  the  "  dry  "  salient  differences.     A  specimen  of  the 
method  of  planting  rice  (bfrhuma  or  charms  used    by  the  orang  bOrhuma 
bMadang)    the    ceremonies    naturally  ("  dry  padi  "  planters)  will  be  found  in 
differ  somewhat,  as  the  forest  has  to  the  Appendix.     The  account  in  the  text 
be  felled,  if  not  every  year,  at  least  more  refers  only  to  the  wet  method,  which  is 
often  than  is  the  case  with  the  ' '  wet  "  by  far  the  more  important  one,  though 
system  ;  and  the  rice-seed  is  not  sown  the  dry  cultivation  is  probably  the  more 
in  nurseries  (as  a  rule),  but  either  scat-  ancient  of  the  two. 

tered    broadcast  or   planted   with   the  4  An  account  of  the  birth  of  Muham- 

dibble  whilst  the  ground  cultivated  is  mad  which  is  intoned  by  a  number  of 

comparatively  dry  and  no  embankments  people  in  the  mosque. 


"(i)  A  strong  buffalo  (to  pull  the  plough). 

(2)  A  plough  with  its  appurtenances  (to  turn  over  the  earth  and 

the  short  weeds). 

(3)  A  harrow  with  its  appurtenances  (to  level  and  break  up 

small  the  clods  of  earth  left  by  the  plough). 

(4)  A  roller  with  its  appurtenances  (to  knock  down  the  long 

weeds,  such  as  sedges,  in  fields  that  have  lain  fallow  for 
a  long  while). 

(5)  A  wood-cutter's  knife,  to  mend  any  of  the  implements  that 

may  get  out  of  order  at  the  time  of  ploughing. 

(6)  A  hoe  to  repair   the   embankments  and  level  the  higher 


(7)  A  scythe l  to  cut  the  long  weeds. 

(8)  And  a  whip  to  urge  the  buffalo  on  if  he  is  lazy. 

"  3.  When  the  proper  season  has  arrived  for  begin- 
ning the  work  of  planting,  and  the  elders  have  come 
to  an  agreement  with  the  Pawang,  then  on  some 
Friday  after  the  service  in  the  Mosque  the  Penghulu 
addresses  all  the  people  there  present,  saying  that 
on  such  a  day  of  the  month  every  one  who  is  to 
take  part  in  rice-cultivation  must  bring  to  the  Mosque 
half  a  quart  of  grain  (for  '  mother-seed ')  in  order  that 
Maulud  prayers  may  be  read  over  it.  (At  that  time 
ketupats'2'  and  lepats*  are  prepared  for  the  men  who 
are  to  read  those  prayers.) 

"  When  the  Maulud  prayers  are  over,  every  man 
goes  down  to  the  rice-field,  if  possible  on  the  same 
day  or  the  next  one,  in  order  to  begin  ploughing  the 
nursery  plot,  that  is,  the  plot  which  is  near  his  house 
or  in  which  he  has  been  in  the  habit  of  sowing  the 
seed  every  year. 

1  The  tajak  may  perhaps  be  better  the  expressed  juice  of  the  pulp  of  the 
described  as  a   (kind   of)   hoe  than   a  cocoa-nut,  and  put  into  a  piece  of  plan- 
scythe,  tain  leaf  about  two  fingers  long,  which 

2  Two  strips  of  cocoa-nut  leaf  are  is  then  folded  and  the  whole  is  steamed, 
braided  into  a  square  bag,  hollow  in-  that  is  put  into  a  pail  known  as  kukusan, 
side,  which  is  half  filled  with  rice,  and  which  is  placed  in  a  large  pan  contain- 
then  boiled  so  that  when  cooked  the  ing  water  having  a  fire  lighted  under  it 
rice  fills  the  bag.  so  that  the  contents  of  the  kukusan  are 

3  Flour  is  mixed  with  sugar  and  with  cooked  by  means  of  steam  only. 

v  SOWING  221 

"  But  if  a  man  has  a  great  number  of  plots,  he  will 
begin  by  ploughing  half  of  them,  and  then  at  the  end 
of  the  month  of  Zilhijah  he  must  diligently  prepare 
the  nursery  plot  so  as  to  be  ready  in  about  ten  days' 


"4.  Before  sowing  one  must  first  of  all  lay  out 
the  grain,  both  the  seed-grain  and  the  'mother-seed,' 
each  separately,  to  dry.  It  must  then  be  soaked  in 
a  vessel  (a  bucket  or  pot)  for  two  days  and  two  nights, 
after  which  it  is  taken  out,  strained  and  spread  quite 
evenly  on  a  mat  with  fresh  leaves  (areca-nut  fronds 
are  best),  and  every  afternoon  one  must  sprinkle  water 
on  it  in  order  that  the  germ  may  quickly  break 
through,  which  will  happen  probably  in  two  days'  time 
or  thereabouts. 

"5.  While  the  seed  is  soaking,  the  nursery  plot 
must  be  carefully  prepared  ;  that  is  to  say,  it  must  be 
ploughed  over  again,  harrowed,  levelled,  ditched,  and 
the  soil  allowed  to  settle  ;  the  embankments  must  be 
mended,  and  the  surface  made  smooth.  When  the 
germs  have  sprouted  the  seed  is  taken  to  the  nursery 
plot.  Benzoin  supplied  by  the  Pawang  is  burnt, 
and  the  plot  sprinkled  with  tepong  tawar.1  Then 
a  beginning  is  made  by  sowing  the  'chief  of  the 
seed,'  i.e.  'mother-seed,'  in  one  corner  of  the  nursery 
prepared  for  the  purpose,  and  about  two  yards  square ; 
afterwards  the  rest  of  the  seed  is  sown  all  over  the 
plot.  It  is  well  to  sow  when  the  plot  contains  plenty 
of  water,  so  that  all  the  germs  of  the  seed  may  be 

1   Ttyong  tawar  consists  of  rice-flour  dara,  sipuleh,  sitawar  and  chakar  bebek 

mixed  with  water.     A  bundle  is  made  (a  small  shrub) ;  the  end  of  this  bundle 

of  the  following  leaves,   ribu-ribu  (a  is  dipped  into  the  tfpong  tawar,  which 

creeper),  gandarusa,  sfnjuang,  sambar  is  then  sprinkled  about. 


uppermost,  and  the  roots  may  not  grow  long,  but  may 
be  pulled  up  easily.  The  time  for  sowing  must  be 
during  the  dark  half  of  the  month,  so  that  the  seedlings 
may  be  preserved  from  being  eaten  by  insects? 

"  Three  days  after  the  seed  is  sown  the  young  shoots 
begin  to  rise  like  needles,  and  at  that  time  all  the 
water  should  be  drawn  off  the  plot ;  after  seven  days 
they  are  likened  to  a  sparrow's  tail,  and  about  the 
tenth  or  fifteenth  day  they  break  out  into  blades.  At 
that  period  the  water  is  again  let  into  the  plot,  little  by 
little,  in  order  that  the  stalks  of  the  seedlings  may 
grow  thick. 

"  The  seedlings  have  to  remain  in  the  nursery  for  at 
least  forty  or  forty-four  days  from  the  time  of  sowing 
before  they  are  sufficiently  grown  ;  it  is  best  to  let  them 
remain  till  they  are  about  seventy  days  old. 

"  6.  While  the  seedlings  are  in  the  nursery  the  other 
plots  are  being  ploughed,  one  after  another ;  and  this 
is  called  the  first  ploughing.  Then  the  embankments 
are  mended  and  re-formed  with  earth,  so  that  the  water 
in  the  field  may  not  escape  and  leave  it  dry.  After 
the  embankments  have  been  mended  the  harrowing 
begins  :  a  start  is  made  with  the  plot  that  was  first 
ploughed  (other  than  the  nursery  plot),  for  there  the 
earth  will  have  become  soft,  and  the  weeds  being 
rotten  after  many  days  of  soaking  in  the  water  will 
form  a  sort  of  manure.  Each  plot  is  so  dealt  with  in 
its  turn.  Then  all  have  to  be  ploughed  once  more 
(which  is  called  the  second  ploughing)  and  harrowed 
again  ;  for  the  first  harrowing  merely  breaks  up  the 
clods  of  earth,  and  a  second  is  required  to  reduce  them 
to  a  fine  state  and  to  kill  the  weeds.  Most  people, 
having  fin.t  used  an  iron  harrow,  use  a  wooden  one 

1  The  italics  are  mine. — W.  S. 


for  the  second  harrowing,  in  order  that  the  earth 
may  be  broken  up  quite  fine.  Their  rice  is  sure  to 
thrive  better  than  that  of  people  who  are  less  careful ; 
for  in  rice-planting,  as  the  saying  goes,  there  is  '  the 
plighted  hope  of  good  that  is  to  come,'  in  the  way  of 
bodily  sustenance  I  mean.  So  day  by  day  the  different 
plots  are  treated  in  the  way  that  has  been  described 
in  connection  with  the  nursery  plot  in  paragraph  5 


"  7.  When  the  seedling  rice  has  been  in  the  nursery 
long  enough,  and  the  fields  are  clean  and  ready  for 
planting  (which  will  be  about  the  month  of  Safar,  or 
August)  the  seedlings  are  pulled  up  and  tied  together 
with  strips  of  dried  palas^  leaves  into  bundles  of 
the  size  known  as  sachekak  (i.e.  the  space  enclosed 
by  the  thumb  and  the  index  finger  when  their 
ends  meet).  If  the  roots  and  blades  are  long 
the  ends  can  be  clipped  a  little,  and  the  roots  are 
then  steeped  in  manure.  This  manure  is  made  of 
buffalo  bones  burnt  with  chaff  till  they  are  thoroughly 
calcined,  and  then  pounded  fine,  passed  through  a 
sieve  and  mixed  with  mud  :  that  is  the  best  kind 
of  manure  for  rice-planting,  and  is  known  as  '  stock 
manure.'  (It  can  also  be  applied  by  merely  scatter- 
ing it  in  the  fields.  In  that  case,  after  cutting  off  the 
ends  of  the  blades,  the  seedlings  are  planted,  and 
afterwards,  when  they  are  green  again  and  appear  to 
be  thriving,  the  manure  is  scattered  over  the  whole 
field.  There  are  some  places,  too,  where  no  manure 
at  all  is  used  because  of  the  perennial  richness  of 
the  soil.) 

1  Licuala  paludosa,  Griff,  and  other  species. 


"Afterwards  the  seedlings  are  allowed  to  remain 
exposed  to  the  air  for  about  two  nights,  and  then  taken 
to  the  field  to  be  planted.  The  bundles  are  broken 
up,  and  bunches  of  four  or  five  plants  together  are 
planted  at  intervals  of  a  span  all  over  the  different 
plots  till  all  are  filled  up.  If  there  are  very  many 
plots,  ten  or  fifteen  female  labourers  can  be  engaged 
to  assist  in  planting,  and  likewise  in  pulling  up  the 
seedlings,  at  a  wage  of  four  cents  for  every  hundred 


"  8.  Ten  days  after  the  young  rice  has  been  trans- 
planted it  recovers  its  fresh  green  colour ;  in  thirty 
days  the  young  shoots  come  out ;  in  the  second  month 
it  increases  more  and  more,  and  in  the  third  it  becomes 
even  all  over.  After  three  months  and  a  half  its 
growth  is  stayed,  and  in  the  fourth  month  it  is  styled 
bunting  kechil. 

"  At  that  stage  the  stalk  has  only  five  joints,  and 
from  that  period  it  must  be  fumigated  daily  till  the 
grain  appears. 

"  About  the  time  when  the  stalk  has  six  joints  it  is 
called  bunting  besar  ;  in  forty  days  more  the  grain  is 
visible  here  and  there,  and  twenty  days  later  it  spreads 
everywhere.  At  this  time  all  the  water  in  the  field 
must  be  drawn  off  so  that  the  grain  may  ripen  quickly. 
After  five  or  six  days  it  ripens  in  patches,  and  a  few 
days  later  the  rice  is  altogether  ripe. 

"  From  the  time  of  transplanting  to  the  time  when 
it  is  ripe  is  reckoned  six  months,  not  counting  the 
days  spent  in  ploughing  and  in  growing  it  in  the 
nursery,  which  may  be  a  month  or  two,  or  even  (if 

v  REAPING  22$ 

there  are  many  plots)  as  much  as  three  months  to  the 
end  of  the  ploughing. 


"  9.  When  one  wishes  to  begin  reaping  the  grain 
one  must  first  have  the  Pawang's  permission,  and  burn 
benzoin  supplied  by  him  in  the  field. 

"  The  following  implements  must  be  got  ready, 
viz.  : — 

"(r)  A  small  basket  to  hold  the   rice  cut  first,  known  as  the 
'  Soul  of  the  Rice '  (semangat  padt). 

(2)  Kjari  lipan1  to  put  round  the  small  basket. 

(3)  A  string  of  terap-  bark  to  tie  up  the  rice  that  is  cut  first. 

(4)  A  small  stem  of  bamboo,  of  the  variety  known  as  buloh 

kasap,  with  a  flag  attached,  which  is  to  be  planted  in  the 
small  basket  as  a  sign  of  the  '  Soul  of  the  Rice '  that  has 
been  cut  first. 

(5)  A  small  white  cloth  to  wrap  up  the  '  Soul  of  the  Rice.' 

(6)  An  anchak  3  to  hold  the  brasier. 

(7)  A  brasier,  in  which  to  burn  the  incense  provided  by  the 


(8)  A  nail  and  a  kind  of  nut,  known  as  buah  kerasf  to  be  put 

into  the  anchak  together  with  the  brasier. 

"  When  the  rice  is  ripe  all  over,  one  must  first  take 
the  '  Soul '  out  of  all  the  plots  of  one's  field.  You 
choose  the  spot  where  the  rice  is  best  and  where  it 
is  '  female '  (that  is  to  say,  where  the  bunch  of  stalks 
is  big)  and  where  there  are  seven  joints  in  the  stalk. 
You  begin  with  a  bunch  of  this  kind  and  clip  seven 
stems  to  be  the  '  soul  of  the  rice ' ;  and  then  you 
clip  yet  another  handful  to  be  the  '  mother-seed '  for 

1  Jari  lipan — lit.   centipede's   feet,       leaf  braided  into  an  open  square  shape 
i.e.  a  sort  of  fringe  generally  made  of      with  cords  attached  to  the  four  corners, 
plaited  strips  of  cocoa-nut  leaf.  the  ends  of  the  cords  being  joined  so 

2  Tfrap — a  kind  of  wild  bread-fruit       that  it  can  be  hung  up. 

tree.  *  Buah  kfras,  the  "  Candle-nut." 

3  Strips  of  bamboo  or  fronds  of  palm- 


the  following  year.  The  '  Soul '  is  wrapped  in  a  white 
cloth  tied  with  a  cord  of  terap  bark,  and  made  into 
the  shape  of  a  little  child  in  swaddling  clothes,  and 
put  into  the  small  basket.  The  '  mother-seed '  is  put 
into  another  basket,  and  both  are  fumigated  with 
benzoin,  and  then  the  two  baskets  are  piled 
the  one  on  the  other  and  taken  home,  and  put  into 
the  kepuk  (the  receptacle  in  which  the  rice  is  stored). 

"  10.  One  must  wait  three  days  (called  \he.pantang 
tuai)  before  one  may  clip  or  cut  any  more  of  the  rice. 
At  first  only  one  or  two  basketfuls  of  rice  are  cut ;  the 
rice  is  dried  in  the  sun,  winnowed  in  a  winnowing 
basket,  and  cleaned  in  a  fanning  machine,  pounded  to 
free  it  from  the  husk,  so  that  it  becomes  beras  (husked 
rice),  and  then  boiled  so  that  it  becomes  nasi  (cooked 
rice),  and  people  are  invited  to  feast  on  it. 

"n.  Then  a  bucket  is  made  for  the  purpose  of 
threshing  the  rest  of  the  rice,  and  a  granary  built  to 
keep  it  in  while  it  remains  in  the  field,  and  five  or  six 
labourers  are  engaged  to  reap  and  thresh  it  (banting)? 
Their  hours  of  working  are  from  6  to  11.30  A.M., 
and  all  the  rice  they  thresh  they  put  into  the  granary. 

"12.  If  the  crop  is  a  good  one  a  gallon  of  seed  will 
produce  a  hundredfold.  Each  plot  in  a  field  takes 
about  a  gallon  of  seed. 

"13.  When  the  rice  has  all  been  cut  it  is  winnowed 
in  order  to  get  rid  of  the  chaff,  and  then  laid  out  in 
the  sun  till  quite  dry,  so  that  it  may  not  get  mouldy  if 
kept  for  a  year. 

"  Then  the  wages  of  the  labourers  are  taken  out  of 
it  at  the  rate  of  two  gallons  out  of  every  ten.  When 

1  The  cut  rice  is  beaten,  by  handfuls,  this  process  is  called  mimbanting  padi, 
against  the  inner  edge  of  the  bucket  so  a  phrase  here  rendered  by  "  threshing." 
that  the  grain  falls  into  the  bucket ; 


that  is  settled,  if  the  rice  is  not  to  be  sold,  it  is  taken 
home  and  put  into  the  rice-chest. 

"  Whenever  you  want  to  eat  of  it,  you  take  out  a 
basketful  at  a  time  and  dry  it  in  the  sun.  Then  you 
turn  it  in  the  winnowing  basket,  and  clean  it  in  the 
fanning  machine,  pound  it  to  convert  it  into  beras, 
and  put  a  sufficiency  of  it  in  a  pot  and  wash  it. 
Enough  water  is  then  poured  over  it  to  cover  it, 
and  it  is  put  on  the  kitchen  fire  till  it  is  boiled  and 
becomes  nasi,  when  it  can  be  eaten. 

"14.  The  custom  of  reaping  with  a  sickle  (sabit)  and 
threshing  the  rice  as  described  in  paragraph  1 1  is  a 
modern  method,  and  is  at  present  mainly  practised  by 
the  people  living  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  town  of 
Malacca,  in  order  to  get  the  work  done  quickly ;  but 
in  olden  times  it  was  not  allowed,  and  even  to  this  day 
the  people  who  live  in  the  inland  parts  of  the  territory 
of  Malacca  prefer  to  clip  their  rice  with  a  tuai,1  and 
put  it  into  their  baskets  a  handful  at  a  time  [i.e.  without 
threshing  it].  (If  labourers  are  employed  to  do  this 
their  wage  is  one-tenth  of  the  rice  cut.)  It  takes  ever 
so  many  days  to  get  the  work  done,  but  the  idea  is 
that  this  method  is  the  pious  one,  the  '  Soul  of  the 
Rice '  not  being  disturbed  thereby.  A  good  part  of 
the  people  hold  this  belief,  and  assert  that  since  the 
custom  of  threshing  the  rice  has  been  introduced,  the 
crops  have  been  much  less  abundant  than  in  years 
of  olden  time  when  it  was  the  custom  to  use  the  tuai 

"15.  If  a  man  has  broad  fields  so  that  he  is  unable 
to  plant  them  all  by  his  own  labour,  he  will  often  allow 
another  to  work  them  on  an  agreement,  either  of  equal 

1  The  tuai  or  pftntwai  is  a  much       (sabit)  and  cuts  only  a  few  ears  at  a 
smaller    instrument    than    the    sickle       time,  vide  supra,  p.  58. 


division  of  the  produce  (each  bearing  an  equal  share 
of  the  hire  of  a  buffalo  and  all  other  expenses  incidental 
to  rice-planting),  or  of  threefold  division  (that  is,  for 
example,  the  owner  bears  all  expenses,  in  which  case 
the  man  who  does  the  work  can  get  a  third  of  the 
produce ;  or  the  latter  bears  all  expenses,  in  which 
case  the  owner  only  gets  a  third  of  the  produce).  Or 
again,  the  land  can  be  let ;  for  instance,  a  field  which 
ordinarily  produces  a  koyan l  of  rice  a  year  will  fetch  a 
rent  of  about  two  hundred  gallons  more  or  less. 

"  1 6.  Every  cultivator  who  does  not  act  in  accord- 
ance with  the  ordinance  laid  down  in  paragraphs  9 
and  10  above,  will  be  in  the  same  case  as  if  he 
disregarded  all  the  prohibitions  laid  down  in  connection 
with  planting.  If  a  man  does  not  carry  out  this 
procedure  he  is  sure  to  fail  in  the  end ;  his  labour  will 
be  in  vain  and  will  not  fulfil  his  desires,  for  the  virtue 
of  all  these  ordinances  and  prohibitions  lies  in  the  fact 
that  they  protect  the  rice,  and  drive  away  all  its 
enemies,  such  as  grubs,  rats,  swine,  and  the  like."2 

I  will  now  deal  with  the  ceremonies  indicated  in 
the  foregoing  article  from  the  ceremonial  point  of  view 


The  ceremony  to  be  observed  at  the  sowing  of  the 
rice-seed  was  thus  described  to  me  by  the  Pawang 
who  performed  the  reaping  ceremony  described  be- 
low : — 

1  A  koyan,  as  a  measure  of  weight,  The  term  gantang\&s  been  rendered 

contains  40 pikuls=  5333 \  Ibs.  here   by   "gallon,"   of  which  it  is  at 

Rather  over  20  gallons  (gantang)  of  present  the  legal  equivalent,   but   the 

rice  (padi)  go  to  a  pikul.  native  gantang  had  a  standard  varying 

The  term  koyan   is   also  used  as  a  according  to  locality, 

measure  of  capacity,  in  which  sense  it  2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  30,  pp.  297- 

contains  800  gantangs.  304. 


"  First  arrange  four  poles  upon  the  ground,  so  as 
to  form  a  rectangular  frame  (galang  dapor),  in  the 
middle  of  the  clearing.  Then  plant  in  succession  at 
the  four  corners— 

"  i.  A  young  banana- tree. 

2.  A  plant  of  lemon  grass  (serai}. 

3.  A  stem  of  sugar-cane  (of  the  kind  called  lanjong). 

4.  A  plant  of  saffron  (kunyif). 

Perform  the  operation  carefully,  so  that  they  are  all 
likely  to  live. 

"In  the  centre  of  the  ground  enclosed  by  the  frame 
deposit  a  cocoa-nut  shell  full  of  water. 

"  Early  next  morning  go  out  and  observe  the  omens. 
If  the  frame  has  moved  aside  (berkuak)  ever  so  little, 
or  if  the  water  has  been  spilt,  it  is  a  bad  omen.  But 
if  not,  and  if  the  water  in  the  cocoa-nut  shell  has  not 
been  spilt,  or  if  a  black  ant  (semuf)  or  a  white  ant 
(anei-anei)  is  found  in  the  water,  it  is  a  good  sign. 

"When  good  omens  have  been  obtained,  proceed 
by  planting  rice-seed  in  seven  holes  with  a  dibble  of 
satambun  wood,  repeating  the  following  charm  :— 

"  In  the  name  of  God,  etc., 
Peace  be  with  you,  Prophet  'Tap, 

Here  I  lodge  with  you,  my  child,  S'ri  Gading,  Gemala  Gading,1 
But  within  from  six  months  to  seven 
I  will  come  and  receive  it  back, 
Cluck,  cluck,  soul !  cluck,  cluck,  soul !  cluck,  cluck,  soul ! " 


The  following  account  (by  Mr.  C.  O.  Blagden)  of 
the  ceremony  of  planting  out  the  young  rice  (from  the 

1  On   my   asking    her   what    these       and   "gfniala  gading"  the  kernel  or 
names  signified,  the  Pawang  told  me       grain  of  the  rice-fruit, 
that   "  S'ri  gading"   meant  the  husk, 


rice-nursery)  appeared  in  the  Journal  of  the  Straits 
Asiatic  Society  in  1896  : — 

"In  agricultural  operations  the  animistic  ideas  of 
the  Malays  are  clearly  apparent :  thus,  before  the  rice 
is  cut  a  sort  of  ritual  is  performed  which  is  known  as 
puji  padi,  and  which  is  regarded,  apparently,  as  a  kind 
of  propitiatory  service,  a  sort  of  apology  to  the  padi 
(rice)  for  reaping  it.  The  padi  is  usually  sprinkled 
with  tepong  tawar  (flour  mixed  with  water)  before  the 
reaping  is  commenced,  and  the  first  lot  cut  is  set  apart 
for  a  ceremonial  feast. 

"  At  planting  there  are  also  ceremonies  :  as  a  rule  the 
beginning  of  the  planting  season  is  ushered  in  by  a 
visit  of  the  whole  body  of  villagers  to  the  most  highly 
revered  kramat  in  the  neighbourhood,  where  the  usual 
offerings  are  made  and  prayers  are  said.  Sometimes, 
however,  there  is  a  special  service  known  as  bapua? 
consisting  of  a  sort  of  mock  combat,  in  which  the 
evil  spirits  are  believed  to  be  expelled  from  the  rice- 
fields  by  the  villagers  :  this  is  not  done  every  year,  but 
once  in  three  or  four  years. 

"  Another  occasional  service  of  a  peculiar  character, 
which  is  not  of  very  frequent  occurrence,  is  the  cere- 
mony which  would  perhaps  be  best  described  as  the 
propitiation  of  the  earth-spirit.  Some  years  ago  I 
happened,  by  chance,  to  be  present  at  a  function  of  this 
kind,  and  as  its  details  may  be  of  some  interest  as 
illustrating  the  wide  dispersion  of  certain  points  of 
ritual,  I  will  end  these  notes  by  giving  a  full  descrip- 
tion of  it  as  noted  down  at  the  time.  It  was  in  the 
month  of  October,  and  I  happened  to  be  out  shooting 

1  Menangkabau    and    Naning   pro-  used  as  a  sort  of  javelin  in  this  mock 
nunciation   for  blrpuar.     Puar  is  the  combat.     [In  Selangor  this  mock  corn- 
name  of  a  jungle  plant,  said  to  be  akin  bat  is  called  singketa. — W.S.] 
to  cardamom,   the  stem   of  which    is 


snipe  in  the  /0afr-fields  of  the  village  of  Sebatu  on  a 
Sunday  morning,  when  I  was  met  by  the  Penghulu, 
the  headman  of  the  village,  who  asked  me  to  leave  off 
shooting  for  an  hour  or  so.  As  I  was  having  fair 
sport,  I  naturally  wanted  to  know  the  reason  why,  so 
he  explained  that  the  noise  of  gunshots  would  irritate 
the  hantu,  and  render  unavailing  the  propitiatory  service 
which  was  then  about  to  begin.  Further  inquiry 
elicited  the  statement  that  the  hantu  in  question  was 
the  one  who  presided  over  rice-lands  and  agricultural 
operations,  and  as  I  was  told  that  there  would  be  no 
objection  to  my  attending  the  ceremony,  I  went  there 
and  then  to  the  spot  to  watch  the  proceedings.  The 
place  was  a  square  patch  of  grass-lawn  a  few  yards 
wide,  which  had  evidently  for  years  been  left  untouched 
by  the  plough,  though  surrounded  by  many  acres  of 
rice-fields.  On  this  patch  a  small  wooden  altar  had 
been  built :  it  consisted  simply  of  a  small  square  plat- 
form of  wood  or  bamboo  raised  about  three  or  four 
feet  above  the  ground,  each  corner  being  supported  by 
a  small  sapling  with  the  leaves  and  branches  left  on  it 
and  overshadowing  the  platform,  the  sides  of  which 
appeared  to  face  accurately  towards  the  four  cardinal 
points.  To  the  western  side  was  attached  a  small 
bamboo  ladder  leading  from  the  ground  to  the  edge  of 
the  platform.  At  the  four  corners  of  the  patch  of  grass 
were  four  larger  saplings  planted  in  the  ground.  On 
the  branches  of  all  these  trees  were  hung  a  number  of 
ketupats,  which  are  small  squarish  bags  plaited  of  strips 
of  the  leaves  of  the  screw-pine  (mengkiiang)  or  some 
similar  plant,  like  the  material  of  which  native  bags 
and  mats  are  made.  A  larger  ketupat  hung  over  the 
centre  of  the  altar,  and  all  of  them  were  filled  with  a 
preparation  of  boiled  rice.  On  the  altar  were  piled  up 


various  cooked  foods  laid  on  plantain  leaves,  including 
the  flesh  of  a  goat  cooked  in  the  ordinary  way,  as  well 
as  rice  and  different  kinds  of  condiments  and  sweet- 
meats. The  Pawang  was  present  as  well  as  a  number 
of  the  villagers,  and  soon  after  my  arrival  with  the 
Penghulu  the  ceremony  began  by  some  of  the  villagers 
producing  out  of  a  bag  the  skin  of  a  black  male  goat 
with  the  head  and  horns  attached  and  containing  the 
entrails  (the  flesh  having  been  cooked  and  laid  on  the 
altar  previously).  A  large  iron  nail  four  or  five  inches 
long,  and  thick  in  proportion,  was  placed  vertically  in 
a  hole  about  two  feet  deep  which  had  been  dug  under 
the  altar,  and  the  remains  of  the  goat  were  also  buried 
in  it,  with  the  head  turned  towards  the  east,  the  hole 
being  then  closed  and  the  turf  replaced.  Some  of  the 
goat's  blood,  in  two  cocoa-nut  shells  (tempurong),  was 
placed  on  the  ground  near  the  south  side  and  south- 
west corner  of  the  altar  close  to  the  ladder. 

"  The  Pawang,  after  assisting  at  these  preliminaries, 
then  took  his  stand  at  the  west  side  of  the  altar,  looking 
eastward :  he  covered  his  head,  but  not  his  face,  with 
his  sarong  wrapped  round  it  like  a  shawl,  and  pro- 
ceeded to  light  a  torch,  the  end  of  which  was  tipped 
with  incense  (kemenyari).  With  this  he  touched  the 
bottom  of  the  altar  platform  four  times.  He  then  took 
a  cup  of  tepong  tawar  and  dipped  in  it  a  small  bundle 
of  four  kinds  of  leaves,  with  which  he  then  sprinkled 
the  north-west  and  south-east  corners  of  the  platform. 
He  then  coughed  three  times — whether  this  was  part  of 
the  ritual,  or  a  purely  incidental  occurrence,  I  am  unable 
to  say,  as  it  was  not  practicable  to  stop  the  ceremony 
for  the  purpose  of  asking  questions — and  again  applied 
the  torch  under  the  altar  and  sprinkled  with  tepong  tawar 
all  the  corners  of  it,  as  well  as  the  rungs  of  the  ladder. 


"  At  this  stage  of  the  proceedings  four  men  stationed 
in  the  rice-field  beyond  the  four  corners  of  the  patch 
of  turf,  each  threw  a  kVtupat  diagonally  across  to  one 
another,  while  the  rest  of  the  assembly,  headed  by  the 
PVnghulu,  chanted  the kalimak,or  Muhammadan  creed, 
three  times. 

"  Then  a  man  holding  a  large  bowl  started  from  a 
point  in  the  rice-field  just  outside  the  north  side  of 
the  patch  of  turf,  and  went  round  it  (first  in  a  westerly 
direction).  As  he  walked,  he  put  handfuls  of  the  rice 
into  his  mouth  and  spat  or  vomited  them  out,  with 
much  noise,  as  if  to  imitate  violent  nausea,  into  the 
field.  He  was  followed  closely  by  another  who  also 
held  a  bowl  filled  with  pieces  of  raw  tapioca  root  and 
beras  bertih  (rice  roasted  in  a  peculiar  way),1  which  he 
threw  about  into  the  field.  Both  of  them  went  right 
round  the  grass  plot.  The  Pawang  then  took  his  cup 
of  tepong  tawar  and  sprinkled  the  anak  padi,  that  is, 
the  rice-shoots  which  were  lying  in  bundles  along  the 
south  and  east  sides  of  the  altar  ready  for  planting. 
Having  sprinkled  them  he  cut  off  the  ends,  as  is  usually 
done ;  and  after  spitting  to  the  right  and  to  the  left,  he 
proceeded  to  plant  them  in  the  field.  A  number  of 
others  then  followed  his  lead  and  planted  the  rest  of 
the  rice-plants,  and  then  a  sweetmeat  made  of  cocoa- 
nut  and  sugar  was  handed  round,  and  Muhammadan 
prayers  were  said  by  some  duly  qualified  person,  an 
orang  'alim  or  a  lebei,  and  the  ceremony  was  concluded. 

"It  was  explained  to  me  that  the  blood  and  the  food 
were  intended  for  the  Jtantu,  and  the  ladder  up  to  the 
altar  was  for  his  convenience  ;  in  fact  the  whole  affair 
was  a  propitiatory  service,  and  offers  curious  analogies 
with  the  sacrificial  ceremonials  of  some  of  the  wild 

1  Bfras  MHtfft,'"  parched"  rice. 


aboriginal  tribes  of  Central  India  who  have  not  been 
converted  to  Hinduism  or  Islam.  That  it  should  exist 
in  a  Malay  community  within  twenty  miles  of  the  town 
of  Malacca,  where  Muhammadanism  has  been  estab- 
lished for  about  six1  centuries,  is  certainly  strange.  Its 
obvious  inconsistency  with  his  professed  religion  does 
not  strike  the  average  Malay  peasant  at  all.  It  is, 
however,  the  fact  that  these  observances  are  not  re- 
garded with  much  favour  by  the  more  strictly 
Muhammadan  Malays  of  the  towns,  and  especially  by 
those  that  are  partially  of  Arab  descent.  These  latter 
have  not  much  influence  in  country  districts,  but 
privately  I  have  heard  some  of  them  express  dis- 
approval of  such  rites  and  even  of  the  ceremonies 
performed  at  kramats.  According  to  them,  the  latter 
might  be  consistent  with  Muhammadan  orthodoxy  on 
the  understanding  that  prayers  were  addressed  solely 
to  the  Deity  ;  but  the  invocation  of  spirits  or  deceased 
saints  and  their  propitiation  by  offerings  could  not  be 
regarded  as  otherwise  than  polytheistic  idolatry.  Of 
course  such  a  delicate  distinction — almost  as  subtle  as 
that  between  dulia  and  latria  in  the  Christian  worship 
of  saints — is  entirely  beyond  the  average  Malay  mind  ; 
and  everything  is  sanctioned  by  immemorial  custom, 
which  in  an  agricultural  population  is  more  deeply- 
rooted  than  any  book-learning  ;  so  these  rites  are  likely 
to  continue  for  some  time,  and  will  only  yield  gradually 
to  the  spread  of  education.  Such  as  they  are,  they  seem 
to  be  interesting  relics  of  an  old-world  superstition. 

"  I  have  mentioned  only  a  few  such  points,  and  only 
such  as  have  been  brought  directly  to  my  knowledge  ; 
there  are  hosts  of  other  quaint  notions,  such  as  the  theory 

1  Five  would  probably  be  nearer  the  mark,  but  Malay  chronology  is  very 


of  lucky  and  unlucky  days  and  hours,  on  which  whole 
treatises  have  been  written,  and  which  regulate  every 
movement  of  those  who  believe  in  them  ;  the  belief  in 
amulets  and  charms  for  averting  all  manner  of  evils, 
supernatural  and  natural ;  the  practice  during  epidemics 
of  sending  out  to  sea  small  elaborately  constructed 
vessels  which  are  supposed  to  carry  off  the  malignant 
spirits  responsible  for  the  disease  (of  which  I  remember 
a  case  a  few  years  ago  in  the  village  of  Sempang, 
where  the  beneficial  effect  was  most  marked) ;  the 
widespread  belief  in  the  power  of  menuju,  that  is, 
doing  injury  at  a  distance  by  magic,  in  which  the 
Malays  believe  the  wild  junglemen  especially  to  be 
adepts  ;  the  belief  in  the  efficacy  of  forms  of  words  as 
love-charms  and  as  a  protection  against  spirits  and 
wild  beasts — in  fact,  an  innumerable  variety  of  super- 
stitious ideas  exist  among  Malays." l 


On  the  28th  January  1897  I  witnessed  (at  Chodoi, 
in  the  Kuala  Langat  district  of  Selangor)  the  cere- 
mony of  fetching  home  the  Rice-soul). 

Time  of  Ceremony. — I  arrived  at  the  house  belong- 
ing to  the  Malay  owner  of  the  rice-field  a  little  past 

8  A.M.,  the  hour  at  which  the  ceremony  was  to  take 
place    having    been    fixed    at   angkat   kening  (about 

9  A.M.)  a  few  days  previously.     On  my  arrival  I  found 
the  Pawang  (sorceress),    an   aged    Selangor  woman, 
seated  in  front  of  the  baskets  required  for  the  cere- 

1  J.R.A.S.)  S.B.,  No.  29,  pp.  7-12.       her  left  (the  big  one  being  supposed  to 

2  These  were  newly -plaited  round       contain   seven,    the  medium  size  five, 
baskets,  three  in  number,  and  diminish-       and  the  smallest  one  three,  gtmalan  of 
ing  in  size  from  the  Paivang's  right  to      padf)  ;    they  were  each  bound   round, 


Accessories. — At  her  extreme  left  stood  one  of  the 
circular  brass  trays  with  high  sides  which  are  called 
dulang  by  the  Malays,  containing  the  following 
objects  :— 

1 .  A  small  bowl  of  u  parched  rice  "  (b'ras  ber'titi). 

2.  A  small  bowl  of  "saffron  rice"  (Vras  kunyif), 

3.  A  small  bowl  of  "  washed  rice  "  (tfras  basoK). 

4.  A  small  bowl  of  "  oil  of  frankincense." 

5.  A  small  bowl  of  "oil  of  Celebes  "  (minyak  Bugis\ 

6.  A  small  bowl  of  "  incense  "  (kem'nyati). 

7.  A  small  bundle  of  incense  (in  addition  to  the  bowl). 

8.  One  of  the  hard  jungle-nuts  called  buah  Kras  (the  candle-nut). 

9.  One  of  the  shells  called  Krang  (a  cockle  shell). 

10.  A  hen's  egg. 

11.  A  stone  (a  small  block  of  quartz). 

12.  A  large  iron  nail. 

13  to  15.  Three  Malay  reaping  instruments  (penuwei).1 

Close  to  the  dulang  stood  a  cocoa-nut  shell  filled 
with  the  tepong  tawar,  which  plays  so  prominent 
a  part  in  Malay  magic  ceremonies,  and  a  brush  made 
up  of  the  leaves  of  seven  different  plants,  bound  up 
as  usual  with  a  cord  of  kulit  frap  (the  bark  of  the 
Wild  Breadfruit),  and  ribu-ribn  (a  kind  of  small  creeper). 
The  plants  which  supplied  the  leaves  of  which  the 
brush  was  composed,  were  as  follows  :— 

i.  Sapenok.  2.  SapanggiL  3.  Jenjuang  (or  len- 
juang]  merah  (the  Red  Dracaena).  4.  Gandarusa. 
5.  Pulut-pulut.  6.  Selaguri.  7.  Sambau  dara  (a  kind 
of  grass). 

But  the  most  interesting  object  was  a  small  oval- 
just  under  the  rim,  with  the  female  wood  called  pompong ;  the  reason 
variety  of  the  creeper  called  ribu-ribu  given  being  that  the  pompong  was 
freshly  gathered  that  morning.  the  wood  of  which  these  instruments 

1  One  of  these  was  called  the  p?nu-  were  originally  made,  whilst  what  I 
wet  sulong  (lit.  eldest  rice  -  cutter),  may  call  the  handle  of  the  instrument 
which  was  only  to  be  used — when  the  was  made  of  a  slip  of  bamboo  stopped 
Pawang  had  done  with  it  —  by  the  from  end  to  end  with  wax.  About 
owner  of  the  rice-field,  and  the  blade  the  other  two  penuweis  there  was 
of  which  is  fitted  into  a  piece  of  the  nothing  specially  remarkable. 


shaped  basket  bound  with  the  ribu-ribu  creeper, 
and  about  fourteen  inches  long,  which  was  standing 
just  in  front  of  the  three  rice-baskets  and  close  to  the 
Pawang,  and  which,  as  I  afterwards  found  out,  was 
intended  to  serve  as  the  cradle  of  the  Rice-soul  (or 
"  Rice-baby ").  I  examined  it,  however,  and  found 
that  as  yet  it  only  contained  the  following  objects  :— 

1.  A  strip  of  white  cloth  (folded  up  and  lying  at  the  bottom  of 

the  basket). 

2.  Some  parti-coloured  thread  (benang  panchawarna  or  pancha- 


3.  A  hen's  egg. 

4.  One  of  the  hard  jungle-nuts  (candle-nuts)  already  referred  to. 

5.  A  cockle  shell  (k 'rang). 

6.  A  long  iron  nail. 

7.  Five  cubits  of  red  cloth  by  means  of  which  the  soul-basket 

was  to  be  slung  round  the  neck  of  its  bearer.  (The  cor- 
recter  custom  would  require  an  expensive  cloth  of  the 
kind  called  jong  saraf,  or  the  "  Loaded  Junk,"  accord- 
ing to  my  informant  the  Pawang.) 

Three  new  Malay  skirts  or  sarongs  were  added, 
(one  to  each  basket),  and  everything  being  ready,  the 
various  receptacles  described  above  were  entrusted  to 
five  female  bearers  (Penjawat),  who  descended  from 
the  house,  with  the  Pawang  at  their  head,  and  set  out 
for  the  rice-field.  Before  they  had  gone  many  yards 
they  were  joined  by  the  owner  of  the  field,  who  walked 
in  front  of  them  bearing  what  was  called  ti\z  junjongan 
padi.  This  was  the  stem  and  leaves  of  a  dark  red 
kind  of  sugar-cane,  which  was  used  in  substitution 
for  the  black  or  "  raven  "  variety  (tebu  gagaK]  which, 
the  Pawang  explained,  would  have  been  used  in  pre- 
ference if  it  had  been  obtainable.  Meanwhile  the 
procession  passed  on,  and  the  Pawang  repeated  as 
we  went  the  following  prayer  to  the  spirits  : — 


"  In  the  name  of  God,  the  merciful,  the  compassionate, 
Peace  be  with  thee,  O  Prophet  'Tap,  in  whose  charge  is  the  Earth, 
I  know  the  origin  of  the  Rice,  S'ri  Gading,  Gemala  Gading, 
That  (dwelleth  at)  the  end  of  the  clearing,  and  that  (dwelleth  at) 

the  beginning  (top)  of  the  clearing ; 
That  is  scattered  broadcast,  that  is  cast  headlong, 
That  is  over-run  (!)  by  the  ants  called  Silambada. 
Ho,  Dang  'Pok,  Dang  Meleni,1  (and) 
Dang  Salamat,  who  carriest  the  pole  slung  on  thy  back, 
Gather  together  and  press  hitherwards  your  attendants. 
May  safety  and  our  daily  bread  be  granted  us  by  God." 

On  reaching  the  rice  the  procession  filed  through 
a  lane  already  made  in  the  rice,  until  the  "mother- 
sheaf"  was  reached  from  which  the  Rice-soul  was  to 
be  taken.  But  immediately  on  arriving  at  the  spot, 
and  before  depositing  the  rice-baskets  on  the  ground, 
the  Pawang  repeated  these  lines  : — 

"  Herons  from  all  this  region, 
Roost  ye  upon  the  shaft  of  my  bow ; 
Retire  ye,  O  Spectral  Reapers, 
That  we  may  deposit  our  baskets  upon  the  ground." 

Here  the  baskets  were  deposited,  and  the  Pawang 

1  These  are  the  names  of  two  girls  fire.       Then    said    Ampu    to    Malin, 

mentioned   in   the    "Malay   Annals"  '  What  is  that  light  which  is  so  brilliant  ? 

(Sejarah  Malayu)  to  whose  rice  there  I  am  frightened  to  look  at  it.'      'Make 

happened  a  strange  phenomenon.     The  no  noise,'  said  Malin,  'it  is  some  great 

following   is    Leyden's   translation    (in  snake  or  naga.'1     Then  they  both  lay 

which  the  names  appear  as  Ampu  and  quiet  for  fear.      When  it  was  daylight 

Malin).    "  The  name  of  its  (the  country  they  arose  and  went  to  see  what  it  was 

of  Palembang's)  river  was  Muartatang  shone  so  bright  during  the  night.    They 

(Muartenang  ?)  into  which  falls  another  both  ascended  the  hill,  and  found  the 

river  named    Sungey    Malayu    (Malay  grain  of  the  rice  converted  into  gold, 

River),  near  the  source  of  which  is  a  the  leaves  into  silver,  and   the  stalks 

mountain  named  the  mountain  Sagan-  into   brass,   and   they   were    extremely 

tang  Maha  Miru  (v.  p.  2,  supra).   There  surprised,  and  said,  '  This  is  what  we 

were  two  young  women   of  Belidung,  observed    during    the    night.'  "       The 

the  one   named   Wan-Ampu,  and  the  account    proceeds    to    show    how    the 

other  Wan-Malin,  employed   in  culti-  prodigy  was  due  to  a  supernatural  visit 

vating  rice  on   this    mountain,    where  from  a  descendant  of  Raja   Secander 

they   had    large    and    productive  rice-  Zulkarneini.  —  Leyden,    Mai.     Ann., 

grounds.     One  night  they  beheld  their  pp.   20,  21.      The  words  in  brackets 

rice-fields  gleaming  and  glittering  like  are  mine. 


took  up  her  station  in  front  of  the  mother-sheaf,  of 
which  mention  has  just  been  made. 

Covering  her  head  with  a  flowing  white  cloth  of 
which  the  ends  fell  upon  her  shoulders,  the  Pawang 
now  stood  up  facing  the  sheaf,  and  waved  the  ends  of 
this  cloth  thrice  upward  to  the  right,  thrice  upward  to 
the  left,  and  finally  thrice  upward  to  the  right  again. 
Then  for  a  few  moments  she  stood  still,  close  to  the 
sheaf  with  her  head  bent  forward  and  buried  among 
the  ears,  after  which  she  reseated  herself  and  dabbled 
the  tepong  tawar  thrice  upon  the  roots  of  the  sheaf. 
One  of  the  female  bearers  now  planted  the  stem  of  the 
sugar-cane  upright  in  the  centre  of  the  sheaf,1  whilst 
the  Pawang  sprinkled  it  with  the  tepong  tawar, 
and  then  holding  the  sharpened  end  of  it  over  the 
incense,  fumigated  it,  saying  : — 

"  Peace  be  with  thee,  O  Prophet  'Tap  ! 
Lo,  I  plant  this  Sugar-cane 
For  you  to  lean  against, 

Since  I  am  about  to  take  away  this  Soul  of  yours,  S'ri  Gading, 
And  carry  it  home  to  your  palace, 
Cluck,  cluck,  soul !  cluck,  cluck,  soul !  cluck,  cluck,  soul !  " 

Here  the  Pawang  and  Penjawat  (Female  Bearer), 
together  proceeded  to  plant  the  sugar-cane  in  the 
centre  of  the  sheaf,  and  (pressing  the  sheaf  more  tightly 
round  the  sugar-cane)  drew  the  waist  of  the  sheaf 
together  and  belted  it  with  some  of  the  outer  stems  of 
the  sheaf  itself ;  then  the  Pawang  applied  the  tepong 

1  Whilst  drawing  together  the  heads  "  Cluck,  cluck,  soul  of  S'ri  Gading,  Gemala 
r  the   sheaf  before   actually  planting          This^emof  yours  is  molten  silver, 
tie    sugar-cane    in    the    ground,    the          Your  leaves  are  copper  overlaid, 
allowing  lines  were  repeated  by  the          Your  stalk  is  gold, 
o  Your  gram  is  fine  gold. 

I  have  not  been  able  to  discover  what 

slmansat^riGading&malaGadinsl        >mas    "•*&**    means,    as    the   Pawang 
Batane-' kau  perak  bfrtuanf  could  not  explain  it  (though  she  insisted 

3£&*Ste£S&'~*~*-'    ?at.u  was  right>' and  u  is  not  in  an>' 

(sic).  dictionary. 


tawar  once  more  to  the  sheaf,  and  after  fumigating  it 
in  the  usual  manner,  ran  her  hands  up  it.  Next  she 
took  in  one  hand  (out  of  the  brass  tray)  the  stone  and 
the  egg,  cockle-shell  and  candle-nut,  and  with  the  other 
planted  the  big  iron  nail  in  the  centre  of  the  sheaf  close 
to  the  foot  of  the  sugar-cane.  Then  she  took  in  her 
left  hand  the  cord  of  tree-bark,  and  after  fumigating  it, 
together  with  all  the  vessels  of  rice  and  oil,  took  up 
some  of  the  rice  and  strewed  it  round  about  the  sheaf, 
and  then  tossed  the  remainder  thrice  upwards,  some 
of  it  falling  upon  the  rest  of  the  company  and  myself. 

This  done,  she  took  the  end  of  the  cord  in  both 
hands,  and  encircling  the  sheaf  with  it  near  the  ground, 
drew  it  slowly  upward  to  the  waist  of  the  sheaf,  and 
tied  it  there,  after  repeating  what  is  called  the  "  Ten 
Prayers"  (do'a  sapulofi]  without  once  taking  breath: — 

"  The  first,  is  God, 
The  second,  is  Muhammad, 
The  third,  Holy  Water  of  the  five  Hours  of  Prayer  by  Day  and 


The  fourth,  is  Pancha  Indra, 
The  fifth,  the  Open  Door  of  Daily  Bread, 
The  sixth,  the  Seven  Stories  of  the  Palace-Tower, 
The  seventh,  the  Open  Door  of  the  Rice-sifting  Platform, 
The  eighth,  the  Open  Door  of  Paradise, 
The  ninth,  is  the  Child  in  its  Mother's  Womb, 
The  tenth,  is  the  Child  created  by  God,  the  reason  of  its  creation 

being  our  Lord. 
Grant  this,  'Isa  ! x 
Grant  this,  Moses  ! 
Grant  this,  Joseph ! 
Grant  this,  David  ! 
Grant  me,  from  God  (the  opening  of)  all  the  doors  of  my  daily 

bread,  on  earth,  and  in  heaven." 

This  prayer  completed,2  she  dug  up  with  the  great 

1  The  Muhammadan  name  for  the       part  of  the  ceremony  (which  is  called 
Founder  of  Christianity.  chZrangkan  tali  frap]  omens  are  taken 

2  During    the    performance   of   this       as  to  the  prosperity  or  otherwise  of  the 


toe  of  the  left  foot  a  small  lump  of  soil,  and  picking  it 
up,  deposited  it  in  the  centre  of  the  sheaf. 

Next  she  took  the  contents  of  the  soul-basket  (the 
egg  and  stone,  candle-nut  and  shell  as  before),  and 
after  anointing  them  with  oil  and  fumigating  them, 
replaced  them  in  the  basket;  then  taking  faepenuwei 
sulong  ("Eldest  Rice-cutter"),  anointed  the  blade 
with  the  oil  of  frankincense,  and  inserting  the  thumb 
of  the  right  hand  into  her  mouth,  pressed  it  for  several 
moments  against  the  roof  of  her  palate.  On  with- 
drawing it  she  proceeded  to  cut  the  first  seven  "  heads  " 
of  rice,  repeating  "  the  Ten  Prayers  "  as  she  did  so. 
Then  she  put  the  seven  "  heads  "  together,  and  kissed 
them ;  turned  up  the  whites  of  her  eyes  thrice,  and 
thrice  contracting  the  muscles  of  her  throat  with  a  sort 
of  "click,"  swallowed  the  water  in  her  mouth.1  Next 
she  drew  the  small  white  cloth  which  she  took  from 
the  soul-basket  for  the  purpose  across  her  lap,  and 

people  of  the  house,  and  the  observa-  if  you  want  it   to   be   a   little   rough 

tions  have  therefore  to  be  made  with  (k&at),  so  that  you  may  not  be  tempted 

the  greatest  care.     The  most  disastrous  to  eat  too  much  of  it  during  hard  times, 

omen  is  the  cawing  of  a  crow  or  rook  ;  instead  of  directly  swallowing  the  water 

next  to  this  (in  point  of  disastrous  sig-  in  your  mouth,  you  must  put  the  tip  of 

nificance)  comes  the  mewing  cry  of  the  your  tongue  to  the  roof  of  your  mouth, 

kite,   and,    thirdly,    the  flight    of  the  and  contract  the  throat  thrice,  slowly 

ground-dove  (tPkukur).     A  good  omen  swallowing  as  you  do  so."      To  the 

is  the  flight  of  the  bird  called  the  Rice's  above  she  then  added  :   "  Besides  this, 

Husband  (LakiPadi),  but  the  best  omen  you  can  make  the  whole  field  of  rice 

is  the  absence  of  any  portent  or  sound,  break    into   waves    by    standing    up, 

even  such  as  the  falling  of  a  tree,  the  clapping  the  hands,  and  then  pushing 

crackling  of  a  branch,  or  a  shout  in  the  each  hand  right  up  the  sleeve  of  the 

distance,  all  of  which  are  harbingers  of  opposite  arm  (I  am  not  quite  sure  if  I 

misfortune  of  some  sort.  rightly   understood    this  last,   but  am 

1  The    Pawang  said    to    me    after-  fairly  certain   that   it  is   correct  —  my 

wards,   when  I  questioned   her  about  notes  have  only  '  run  the  hands  up  the 

this,  "  If  you  want  your  husked  rice  to  arms  '),  saying  as  you  do  so  : — 

be  white  and  smooth  (puteh  lanchap\  ,  ,  ., 

fl  "  Al-saZam  'aleikum. 

you  must  stand  up  facing  the  sun  at  Waman  ivamat, 

nine  o'clock  (angkat  kfning,  lit.  '  Raise  Pakui,  a?"ai>' 

the  eyebrow '),  turn  up   the  whites  of 

your  eyes,  swallow  the  water  in  your  This  will  swell  the  grains,  and  prevent 

mouth,  and  your  rice  will  be  smooth  them   from   getting  empty  (minching, 

and  white  and  easily  swallowed.      But  jangan  banyak  hampd)." 


laying  the  little  bundle  of  seven  ears  in  it,  anointed 
them  with  oil  and  tied  them  round  with  parti-coloured 
thread  (benang  panchawarna),  after  which  she  fumi- 
gated them  with  the  incense,  and  strewing  rice  of  each 
kind  over  them,  folded  the  ends  of  the  cloth  over 
them,  and  deposited  them  as  before  in  the  basket, 
which  was  handed  to  the  first  bearer.  Then  standing 
up,  she  strewed  more  rice  over  the  sheaf,  and  tossing 
some  backwards  over  her  head,  threw  the  remainder 
over  the  rest  of  the  party,  saying  "  tabek  "  ("pardon")  as 
she  did  so,  and  exclaiming  "  kur  semangat,  kur  seman- 
gat, kur  semangat  /"  ("  cluck,  cluck,  soul !  ")  in  a  loud 
voice.  Next  she  pushed  the  cocoa-nut  shell  (which 
had  contained  the  tepong  tawar)  into  the  middle  of  the 
sheaf,  and  removed  all  traces  of  the  lane  which  had 
been  trodden  round  the  sheaf  (to  make  it  accessible) 
by  bending  down  the  surrounding  ears  of  rice  until  the 
gap  was  concealed. 

Then  the  First  Bearer,  slinging  the  basket  of  the 
Rice-child  about  her  neck  (by  means  of  the  red  cloth 
before  referred  to),  took  an  umbrella l  from  one  of  the 
party,  and  opened  it  to  shield  the  Rice-child  from  the 
effects  of  the  sun,  and  when  the  Pawang  had  reseated 
herself  and  repeated  an  Arabic  prayer  (standing  erect 
again  at  the  end  of  it  with  her  hands  clasped  above 
her  head),  this  part  of  the  ceremony  came  to  an  end. 
Moving  on  to  another  part  of  the  field,  the  Pawang 
now  cut  the  next  seven  "  heads  "  and  deposited  them 
in  one  of  the  three  rice-baskets,  which  she  then  handed 
to  one  of  the  female  bearers,  telling  her  and  her  two 
companions  to  reap  the  field  in  parallel  straight  lines 

1  This  umbrella  had  been  forgotten,  house  to  fetch  it ;  as  without  it,  I  was 
and  we  were  compelled  to  wait  while  told,  the  Rice -child  could  not  be 
one  of  the  "bearers"  returned  to  the  escorted  home. 


facing  the  sun,  until  they  had  filled  the  three  rice- 
baskets,  after  which  they  were  to  return  to  the  house. 
Leaving  the  three  reapers  at  their  task,  I  followed  the 
Pawang  and  Eldest  Bearer  (the  latter  still  shielding 
the  Rice-child  from  the  sun  with  the  umbrella)  and 
arrived  in  time  to  witness  the  reception  of  the  party 
as  they  reached  the  foot  of  the  house-ladder.  Here 
(on  the  threshold)  we  were  met  by  the  wife  of  the 
owner,  and  other  women  of  his  family,  the  former 
thrice  calling  out  as  we  approached,  "Apakkobarf" 
("What  news?"),  and  thrice  receiving  the  reply,  "Baik" 
("  It  is  well").  On  receiving  this  reply  for  the  third 
time  she  threw  saffron -rice  over  the  Pawang  and 
repeated  these  lines  :— 

"  Chop  the  '  tree '  Galenggang  (a  kind  of  shrub), 
Chop  it  to  pieces  in  front  of  the  door  : 
Yonder  comes  One  swinging  (her)  arms  ; 
That  (methinks)  is  a  child  of  mine." 

To  which  the  Pawang  immediately  replied  : — 

"  Chop  the  young  bamboo-shoots  as  fine  as  you  can, 
If  you  wish  to  stupefy  the  fish  in  the  main  stream. 
In  good  sooth  I  have  crossed  the  stream, 
For  great  was  my  desire  to  come  hither." 

And  the  bearer  of  the  Rice-child  added — doubtless 
on  the  Rice-child's  behalf: — 

"  This  measure  is  not  a  measure  filled  with  pepper, 
But  a  measure  filled  with  rice-husks. 
My  coming  is  not  merely  fortuitous, 
But  great  (rather)  was  my  desire,  the  wish  of  my  heart." 

She  then  entered  the  house  and  laid  the  Rice-child 
(still  in  its  basket)  on  a  new  sleeping-mat  with  pillows 
at  the  head.  About  twenty  minutes  later  the  three 


Bearers  returned,1  each  of  their  rice-baskets  covered 
with  a  sarong.  These  baskets  were  carried  into  the 
bedroom  and  deposited  in  order  of  size  on  the  mat  at 
the  foot  of  the  soul-basket,  the  largest  basket  being 
the  nearest  to  the  soul-basket.  Finally,  the  Pawang 
removed  the  sarongs  which  covered  each  basket  and 
deposited  them  on  the  Rice-child's  pillow,  and  sticking 
the  "penuweis  "  into  her  hair,  fumigated  the  entire  row 
of  baskets  and  the  Rice-child,  and  covered  them  over 
with  the  long  white  cloth,  after  which  the  wife  of  the 
master  of  the  house  was  told  to  observe  certain  rules 
of  taboo  for  three  days. 

The  following  were  the  taboos  imposed  upon  her  :— 

1.  Money,  rice,  salt,  oil,  tame  animals,  etc.,  were  forbidden  to 

leave  the  house,  though  they  might  enter  it  without  ill 

2.  Perfect  quiet  must  be  observed,  as  in  the  case  of  a  new-born 


3.  Hair  might  not  be  cut. 

4.  The  reapers,  till  the  end  of  the  reaping,  were  forbidden  to  let 

their  shadows  fall  upon  the  rice.  ( Yang  menuwei  sampei 
habis  menuwei,  tiada  buleh  menindeh  bayang.} 

5.  The  light  placed  near  the  head  of  the  Rice-child's  bed  might 

not  be  allowed  to  go  out  at  night,  whilst  the  hearth -fire 
might  not  be  allowed  to  go  out  at  all,  night  or  day,  for 
the  whole  three  days. 

The  above  taboos  are  in  many  respects  identical 
with  those  which  have  to  be  observed  for  three  days 
after  the  birth  of  a  real  child. 

1   I    was    told    by    the   Pawang    that  "Al-salam'aleikum,nal>rTa.p,jmtigmemeg- 
...                              i      ,          i     /.,!    j  anerkan  bumil 

when  the  three  reapers  had  each  filled         Tetapkan  anak  aku, 

her    basket,     each    of     them     tied     the  Janga.nrosak,janganbinasaka.n 

leaves   of   the  rice   clumps    together,  %*/££$$'££"***" 

and   dug   up    a   lump    of    earth    with 

the  great  toe  of  the  left  foot,  and  in-  "  Peace  be  with  you,  Prophet  'Tap,  in  whose 

.°        ,        ,  £_•.«.!.  -j  ..       r  charge  is  the  earth, 

sertmg    the    lump    into    the    midst  ^  of          Confirm  this  my  child, 
each   clump,    repeated    the    following          Do  it  no  harm  or  scathe, 

j  But  remove  it  far  from  Demons  and  Devils, 

woras  :  By  virtue  of> ..  etc 


'5)2  S 

I  S  a 

0  g:s 

="n  =• 
5  w  — 

8 1  ? 

•£'§  * 



5    *"•      U 

v  *v    rt 


bjo-S  3 
|  i  j 

O  «j  •- 
X  K  U 
*  -^  - 



I  may  add  that  every  day,  when  the  reapers  start 
their  reaping,  they  have  to  repeat  the  following 
charm  : — 

"  A  swallow  has  fallen,  striking  the  ground, 
Striking  the  ground  in  the  middle  of  our  house-yard; 
But  ye,  O  Shadows  and  Spectral  Reapers, 
See  that  ye  mingle  not  with  us." 

When  reaping,  they  must  cover  their  heads  and  must 
face  the  sun,  no  matter  what  hour  of  the  day  it  is,  in 
order  to  prevent  their  own  shadows  from  falling  upon 
the  rice  in  the  basket  at  their  side. 

Pounding  the  first  of  the  padi. — I  witnessed  this 
ceremony  three  days  later,  at  about  9  A.M.  The  three 
baskets  filled  with  the  first  reapings  were  removed 
from  the  mat  on  which  they  had  been  placed,  and  their 
contents  emptied  out  upon  a  new  mat,  to  each  corner 
of  which  four  rice-ears  were  tied,  and  trodden  out  (di- 
irekkari)  by  the  owner  of  the  field.  Then  the  rice 
was  poured  back  into  two  of  the  baskets,  and  the  straw 
of  the  rice  "  heads  "  was  plaited  into  a  wreath.1 

Drying  the  first  of  the  padi. — Preparations  being 
complete,  the  two  baskets  full  of  newly-cut  rice  were 
carried  down  the  steps  and  out  to  an  open  part  of  the 
field,  a  little  way  from  the  house,  and  there  spread  on 
a  mat  in  the  sun  to  dry.  To  spread  it  properly  is  not 
an  easy  matter,  the  operator  (who  in  this  case  was  the 
owner),  standing  on  the  mat  and  spreading  the  grains 
with  a  long  sweeping  motion  of  the  hand  from  one 
side  of  the  mat  to  the  other  (the  process  being  called 
di-kekar,  di-kachau,  or  membalikkan  jemoran).  In 

1  A  cat  having  given  birth  to  kittens  rule  that  if  there  was  nobody  else  who 

the  night  before  the  ceremony,  I  was  could  bear  children  at  the  time,  God 

told  by  the  Pawang  that  it  was  a  very  was  wont  to  substitute  a  cat  (nifnggan~ 

good  sign,  and   that  it  was  a  known  tikan  tucking). 


the  present  case  several  objects  were  placed  in  the 
centre  of  the  mat,  consisting  of — 

1.  A  basket-work  stand  (one  of  those  used  for  the  cooking-pots, 

and  called  lekar  jantari). 

2.  A  bowl  of  water  deposited  upon  this  stand  and  intended 

"  for  the  Rice-soul    (semangat  padi)    to    drink  when    it 
becomes  thirsty  with  the  heat  of  the  sun." 

3.  A  big  iron  nail. 

4.  A  candle-nut  (buah  Kras). 

5.  Six  trodden-out  rice  "  heads,"  a  couple  of  which  tied  in  a 

slip  knot  (simpul  puliK)  are  fastened  to  each  corner  of  the 

Pounding  of  the  rice  from  the  three  baskets. — When 
the  rice  had  been  sufficiently  dried,  it  was  once  more 
collected  in  the  baskets,  and  carried  back  to  the  house 
to  be  pounded.1  That  operation  took  place  the  same 
evening,  when  the  rice  was  pounded  and  winnowed 2 
in  the  ordinary  way,  the  only  noteworthy  addition 
being  the  tying  of  bunches  of  the  grass  called  sambau 
dara  to  the  upper  ends  of  the  long  wooden  pestles 
which  the  Malays  use  for  the  pounding  operation. 

Disposal  of  the  empty  rice-stalks  from  the  three 
baskets. — The  chaff  thus  obtained  was  deposited  in  a 
heap  by  the  owner  of  the  field  in  a  place  where  three 
paths  met,  crowned  with  a  wreath  made  of  the  empty 
rice-stalks,  and  covered  by  a  big  stone  which  was  in- 
tended, I  was  told,  to  keep  it  from  being  blown  away. 

The  sugar-cane  was  left  to  grow  in  the  midst  of 
the  mother-sheaf,  until  the  latter  should  be  reaped  by 
the  wife  of  the  owner;  when  this  takes  place,  it  is 
carried  back  to  the  house  and  used  for  next  year's 
reaping.  Meanwhile  the  "  heads  "  of  the  mother-sheaf 

1  The  drying  usually  takes  longer,  2  Nothing  of  the  male  sex  may  stand 

but  the  exceptional  heat  of  the  sun  on  or  sit  opposite  the  point  of  the  sieve 

the  day  in  question  enabled  the  opera-  (nyiru)  during  this  winnowing, 
tion  to  be  hastened. 


are  pounded,  and  the  grain  thus  obtained  is  mixed 
with  the  grain  obtained  from  the  Rice-soul,  and  de- 
posited in  the  rice-bin  (ktpok]  together  with  a  stone,  a 
lump  of  rosin  (damar\  and  a  wreath  composed  of  the 
empty  rice-ears.  I  may  add  that  I  saw  the  articles 
which  had  been  deposited  in  the  previous  year  in  the 
rice-bin  of  the  Malay  at  whose  house  I  witnessed  the 
ceremony  which  I  have  just  described. 

I  did  not  witness  the  preliminary  search  for  the 
mother-sheaf  (in  which  the  Rice-soul  was  supposed  to 
be  contained),  but  it  was  described  to  me  by  the 
Pawang,  and  performed  for  my  benefit  by  the  people 
of  the  house.  The  Pawang  s  description  ran  as  follows : 
In  order  to  confine  the  "  Rengkesa "  (a  Spectral 
Reaper)  to  the  boundaries,  visit  the  four  corners  of 
the  field,  and  at  each  corner  tie  a  knot  in  a  rice-leaf, 
and  hold  your  breath  while  you  repeat  the  following 
charm  : — 

"  In  the  name  of  God,  etc., 
A  swallow  has  fallen  striking  the  ground, 
Striking  the  ground  in  the  middle  of  our  house-yard. 
But  ye,  O  Shadows  and  Spectral  Reapers  (R£ngkesa), 
Have  your  appointed  place  on  the  Boundaries  (of  this  field). 
By  virtue  of,"  etc. 

These  noxious  spirits  being  thus  confined  to  the 
Four  Corners,  you  may  search  in  safety  till  you  find 
one  of  the  special  varieties  of  rice-ear  in  which  the 
Rice-soul  resides. 

There  are  several  varieties,  of  which  the  best  is 
called  Tongkat  Mandah;  it  may  be  described  as  an 
ordinary  "rice-head"  bending  over  to  meet  the  tip  of 
second  (adventitious)  "rice-head,"  but  it  is  produced 
only  by  a  freak  of  nature.  There  is  some  risk  con- 
nected with  this  variety,  however,  for  if  the  "Reception 


(Sambut)  Ceremony "  is  not  properly  performed 
the  owner  will  die.  The  second  best  is  called  "  The 
Kite"  (Lang).  The  third  best  is  called  "The  Veiled 
Princess  "  (Putri  Bertudong] ;  in  this  case  the  sheath 
of  the  "head"  is  of  unusual  length,  and  overshadows 
the  "head"  itself.  A  fourth  kind  is  called  Padi  Bertel- 
'kum,  and  is  described  as  a  "  Female  Rice  "  (padi 
betina) ;  like  the  "  Veiled  Princess,"  it  has  an  unusually 
well-developed  sheath  ;  whilst  a  fifth  kind  is  the  "  Padi 
Mendhara  " — a  rice-plant  whose  leaves  show  white 
lines  or  markings. 

How  women  should  reap  on  ordinary  occasions. 
— Whenever  women  go  out  to  reap  they  should 
repeat  certain  charms  before  leaving  the  house,1  and 
again  before  depositing  their  baskets  on  the  ground. 
Their  heads  should  be  covered,  and  they  should 
always  be  careful  to  reap,  as  has  been  said,  facing 
the  sun,  to  prevent  their  shadow  from  falling  upon 
the  rice  in  the  basket  at  their  side.  Occasionally, 
however,  the  body  is  uncovered,  and  I  was  even 
told  of  one,  Inche  Fatimah  of  Jugra,  in  Selangor, 
who  when  reaping  stripped  herself  bare  from  the 
waist  upwards,  and  when  asked  why  she  did  so  said 
it  was  "to  make  the  rice-husks  thinner,  as  she  was 
tired  of  pounding  thick-husked  rice." 

The  sheaf  which  is  left  standing  after  the  taking 
home  of  the  Rice-soul  is  called  the  Mother  of  the 
Rice-soul  (Ibu  Semangat  Padi],  and  treated  as  a 
newly-made  mother  ;  that  is  to  say,  young  shoots  of 
trees  (putik-putik  kayu)  are  taken,  pounded  together 

1  The  charms  are  the  same  as  those  tion  discernible  between  the  first  and 

given    supra,    viz.    "A   swallow    has  the  second  half  of  the  quatrain;  the 

fallen,"  etc.,  and  "  Herons  from  all  this  latter  always  contains  the  actual  point, 

region."    They  are  in  the/a«ta«  form,  the  former  at  most  something  analogous 

and  accordingly  there  is  little  connec-  or  remotely  parallel. 


(di-tumbok),  and  scattered  broadcast  (di-tabor)  every 
evening  for  three  successive  days. 

When  the  three  days  are  up  you  take  cocoa-nut 
pulp  (isi  niyor)  and  what  are  called  "  goat  flowers  " 
(bunga  kambing),  mix  them,  and  eat  them  with  a 
little  sugar,  spitting  some  of  the  mixture  out  among 
the  rice.  [So,  after  a  birth  (as  the  Pawang  informed 
me),  the  young  shoots  of  the  jack -fruit  (kababal 
nangka),  the  rose -apple  (jambu),  and  certain  kinds 
of  banana  (such  as  pisang  abu  and  pisang  Benggala), 
and  the  thin  pulp  of  young  cocoa-nuts  (kelongkong 
niyor)  are  mixed  with  dried  fish,  salt,  acid  (asam), 
prawn -condiment  (tflachan),  and  similar  ingredients, 
to  form  a  species  of  salad  (rojak\  For  three  suc- 
cessive days  this  salad  is  administered  to  mother  and 
child,  the  person  who  administers  it  saying,  if  the  child 
be  a  girl,  "  Your  mother  is  here,  eat  this  salad,"  and  if 
the  child  be  a  boy,  "  Your  father  is  here,  eat  this  salad."] 

Invariably,  too,  when  you  enter  the  rice-clearing 
(menempoh  ladang)  you  must  kiss  the  rice  -  stalks 
(chium  tangkei  padt),  saying,  "  Cluck,  cluck,  soul  of 
my  child!"  (kur,  semangat  anak  akuf}  just  as  if  you 
were  kissing  an  infant  of  your  own. 

The  last  sheaf  (as  I  think  I  have  said)  is  reaped 
by  the  wife  of  the  owner,  who  carries  it  back  to  the 
house  (where  it  is  threshed  out  and  mixed  with  the 
Rice-soul).  The  owner  then  takes  the  Rice-soul  and 
its  basket  and  deposits  it  in  the  big  circular  rice-bin 
used  by  the  Malays,  together  with  the  product  of  the 
last  sheaf.  Some  of  the  product  of  the  first  seven 
"  heads "  will  be  mixed  with  next  year's  seed,  and 
the  rest  will  be  mixed  with  next  year's  tepong  tawar? 

1  The    extreme    voluminousness   of      rice-planting    makes    it  impossible   to 
Malay  folk-lore  upon   the    subject    of      do    more    than    give    a    general    idea 



In  the  Western  States  of  the  Peninsula  by  far  the 
most  important  branch  of  industry  has  for  many  years 
been  that  of  Tin-mining.  Though  something  like  90 
per  cent  of  the  labourers  employed  in  the  mines  are 
Chinese,  the  ceremonies  used  at  the  opening  of  tin- 
mines  are  purely  Malay  in  character. 

The  post  of  mining  wizard,  once  a  highly  lucrative 
one,  was  in  past  days  almost  always  filled  by  a  Malay, 
though  occasionally  the  services  of  a  Jungle -man 
(Sakai)  would  be  preferred.  These  mining  wizards 
enjoyed  in  their  palmy  days  an  extraordinary  reputa- 
tion, some  of  them  being  credited  with  the  power  of 
bringing  ore  to  a  place  where  it  was  known  that  no 
ore  existed ;  some,  too,  were  believed  to  possess  the 
power  of  sterilising  such  ore  as  existed,  and  of  turning 
it  into  mere  grains  of  sand. 

The  ore  itself  is  regarded  as  endued  not  only  with 
vitality,  but  also  with  the  power  of  growth,  ore  of 
indifferent  quality  being  regarded  as  too  young  (muda], 
but  as  likely  to  improve  with  age.  Sometimes,  again, 
it  is  described  as  resembling  a  buffalo,  in  which  shape 
it  is  believed  to  make  its  way  from  place  to  place 
underground.  This  idea,  however,  is  probably  based 
upon  traditions  of  a  lode,  though  it  is  quite  in  keeping 

of    the    ceremonies    described.      The  details.       One    of    these    invocations 

ceremonies,  however,  are  comparatively  should  certainly  help  to  emphasise  the 

homogeneous  in  all  parts  of  the  Penin-  strength  of  the  anthropomorphic  concep- 

sula,  and  the  specimens  given  may  be  tion  of  the  Rice-soul  as  held  by  Malays, 

taken  as  fairly  representative.      In  the  It  runs  as  follows  (vide  App.  ex.) : — 
Appendix  (xciii.  seqq.},  will  be  found  a  "Cluck,  cluck,  soul  of  my  child  ! 

number    of    invocations,    collected    by  Come  and  return  home  with  me, 

_,_„.  '.       ...         '  Our  agreement  has  reached  its  term. 

Mr.  O  Sullivan  and  myself,  which  are  Let  not  the  Heat  afflict  you, 

addressed  to  the  rice-spirit  and  may  help  Let  not  the  Wind  afflict  you. 

to  emphasise  or  explain  some  of  the  ^  aot  l^jj 


with  Malay  ideas  about  the  spirits  residing  in  other 
minerals,  the  Gold  spirit  being  supposed  to  take  the 
shape  of  a  kijang  or  roe-deer  (whence  the  tradition 
of  a  golden  roe-deer  being  found  at  Raub  in  Pahang). 

In  connection  with  the  subject  of  tin-mining  the 
account  contributed l  in  1885  by  Mr.  Abraham  Hale 
(then  Inspector  of  Mines  in  the  Kinta  district  of 
Perak)  to  the  Journal of the  Straits  Asiatic  Society  is  of 
such  value  as  to  necessitate  its  being  quoted  in  extenso. 
It  will  be  followed  by  such  notes  upon  mining  invoca- 
tions as  I  was  able  to  collect  in  Selangor,  after  which 
a  few  remarks  upon  the  Malay  theory  of  animism  in 
minerals  generally  will  bring  the  subject  to  a  conclusion. 

To  commence  with  Mr.  Male's  account: — "The 
valley  of  the  Kinta  is,  and  has  been  for  a  very  long 
time,  essentially  a  mining  country.  There  are  in  the 
district  nearly  five  hundred  registered  mines,  of  which 
three  are  worked  by  European  Companies,  the  rest 
being  either  private  mines,  i.e.  mines  claimed  by 
Malays,  which  have  been  worked  by  them  and  their 
ancestors  for  an  indefinite  period,  or  new  mines,  in 
other  words  new  concessions  given  indifferently  on 
application  to  Malays  and  Chinese.  There  are  about 
three  hundred  and  fifty  private  Malay  mines,  and  it  is 
with  these  principally  that  the  following  paper  will 

"So  far,  no  lodes  have  been  discovered  in  Kinta ; 
it  is,  however,  probable  that,  as  the  country  is  opened 
up  and  prospectors  get  up  amongst  the  spurs  of  the 
main  range,  the  sources  of  the  stream  tin  will  come  to 

"  Mining  in  Kinta,  like  mining  in  Larut,  is  for 
stream  tin,  and  this  is  found  literally  everywhere  in 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.t  No.  16,  pp.  303-320. 


Kinta  ;  it  is  washed  out  of  the  sand  in  the  river-beds— 
a  very  favourite  employment  with  Mandheling  women  ; 
Kinta  natives  do  not  affect  it  much,  although  there  is 
more  than  one  stream  where  a  good  worker  can  earn  a 
dollar  per  day  ;  it  is  mined  for  in  the  valley,  and  sluiced 
for  on  the  sides  of  hills  ;  and,  lastly,  a  very  suggestive 
fact  to  a  geologist,  it  has  been  found  on  the  tops  of 
isolated  limestone  bluffs  and  in  the  caves l  which  some 
of  them  contain. 

"  This  stream  tin  has  probably  been  worked  for 
several  centuries  in  Kinta ;  local  tradition  says  that  a 
very  long  time  ago  Siamese  were  the  principal  miners, 
and  there  is  evidence  that  very  extensive  work  has 
been  done  here  by  somebody  at  a  time  when  the 
method  was  different  from  that  which  is  commonly 
adopted  by  Kinta  Malays  at  the  present  day.  There 
are  at  least  fifty  deep  well-like  pits  on  the  Lahat  hill, 
averaging  about  eight  feet  in  diameter  and  perhaps 
twenty  feet  deep. 

"  Further  up  country  I  have  seen  a  large  pit  which 
the  natives  called  a  Siamese  mine ;  this  is  about  fifty 
feet  in  diameter  and  over  twenty  feet  deep,  and  its  age 
may  be  conjectured  from  the  virgin  forest  in  which  it 
is  situated.  Besides  these,  at  many  places  extensive 
workings  are  continually  brought  to  light  as  the  country 
is  opened  up,  and  these  appear  to  have  been  left  un- 
disturbed for  at  least  a  hundred  years.  Further  evidence 
of  old  work  is  furnished  by  slabs  of  tin  of  a  shape 
unlike  that  which  has  been  used  in  Perak  in  the 
memory  of  living  persons  ;  and  only  a  few  weeks  ago 
two  very  perfect  '  curry  stones '  of  an  unusual  shape 
and  particularly  sharp  grit  were  found  at  a  depth  of 

1  Report     on      the      Geology     and      Perak,  by  Rev.  J.  E.  Tennison-Wood, 
Physical    Geography   of   the   State  of      F.G.S.,  F.L.S.,  etc. 

v  THE  MINING  PA  WANG  253 

eight  feet  in  natural  drift.     These  may,  perhaps,  have 
been  used  to  grind  grain. 

"  So  peculiarly  is  Kinta  a  mining  district,  that  even 
the  Sakais  of  the  hills  do  a  little  mining  to  get  some 
tin  sand  wherewith  to  buy  the  choppers  and  sarongs 
which  the  Malays  sell  to  them  at  an  exorbitant 

"The  Malay  pawang,  or  medicine-man,  is  probably 
the  inheritor  of  various  remnants  and  traditions  of  the 
religion  which  preceded  Muhammadanism,  and  in 
the  olden  time  this  class  of  persons  derived  a  very 
fair  revenue  from  the  exercise  of  their  profession,  in 
propitiating  and  scaring  those  spirits  who  have  to  do 
with  mines  and  miners  ;  even  now,  although  the  Malay 
pawang  may  squeeze  a  hundred  or  perhaps  two  hundred 
dollars  out  of  the  Chinese  towkay l  who  comes  to  mine 
for  tin  in  Malaya,  the  money  is  not  perhaps  badly 
invested,  for  the  Chinaman  is  no  prospector,  whereas 
a  good  Malay  pawang  has  a  wonderful  '  nose  '  for  tin, 
and  it  may  be  assumed  that  the  Chinese  towkay  and, 
before  his  time,  the  Malay  miner,  would  not  pay  a  tax 
to  the  pawang  unless  they  had  some  ground  for  believ- 
ing that,  by  employing  him  and  working  under  his 
advice,  there  would  be  more  chance  of  success  than  if 
they  worked  only  on  their  own  responsibility. 

"  The  pawang  being  a  person  who  claims  to  have 
powers  of  divination  and  other  imperfectly  understood 
attributes,  endeavours  to  shroud  his  whole  profession 
in  more  or  less  of  mystery.  In  his  vocabulary,  as  in 
that  of  the  gutta-hunters,  special  terms  are  used  to 
signify  particular  objects,  the  use  of  the  ordinary  words 
being  dropped  ;  this  is  called  '  bahdsa  pantang. ' " 

1  The    mining   contractor,    also    called    towkay   lombong  and   towkay  labur, 
vide  infra.  *  Lit.  "  Taboo  language. " 


"  The  following  are  some  of  the  special  terms 
alluded  to  :— 

"Ber-olak  tinggi?  instead  of  gajah — elephant. 
The  elephant  is  not  allowed  on  the  mine,  or  must  not 
be  brought  on  to  the  actual  works,  for  fear  of  damage 
to  the  numerous  races  and  dams ;  to  name  him,  there- 
fore, would  displease  the  spirits  (kantu). 

"  Ber-olak  ddpor,  instead  of  kuching — cat.  Cats  are 
not  allowed  on  mines,  nor  may  the  name  be  mentioned. 

"  A  tiger  of  enormous  size  called  Ber-olak  is  said  to 
haunt  Kinta.  The  legend  about  him  is  as  follows  : — 
A  long  time  ago,  in  the  pre-Muhammadan  days,  a  man 
caught  a  tiger  kitten  and  took  it  home ;  it  grew  up 
quite  tame  and  lived  with  the  man  until  he  died,  when 
it  returned  to  the  jungle  and  grew  to  an  enormous  size, 
nine  cubits  (hasta]  long  ;  it  is  still  there,  though  nobody 
ever  sees  it ;  it  does  no  harm,  but  sometimes  very  large 
tracks  are  seen,  and  men  hear  its  roar,  which  is  so  loud 
that  it  can  be  heard  from  Chemor  to  Batu  Gajah  ; 
when  heard  in  the  dry  season,  it  is  a  sure  prognostica- 
tion of  rain  in  fifteen  days'  time. 

"  Sial?  instead  of  kerbau — water-buffalo.  The 
buffalo  is  not  allowed  on  the  mine  for  the  same  reason 
as  the  elephant. 

"  Salah  nama?  instead  of  limau  nipis — lime  (fruit). 
If  limes  are  brought  on  to  a  mine,  the  hantu  (spirits) 
are  said  to  be  offended ;  the  particular  feature  of  the 
fruit,  which  is  distasteful,  appears  to  be  its  acidity.  It 

1  Bfrolak    here    means    to     "  turn  2  Sial     means     literally     anything 

one's  self  about,  "and  the  whole  phrase  which   brings    bad    luck;    so  perhaps 

would  mean  "  The  Tall  One  that  Turns  we    might    translate    it    "Mr.    Bad- 

Himself  about" — perhaps  the    "Tall  luck." 

Loafer "  would  be  as  near  as  we  can  3  Salah     nama     means      "  Wrong 

get  to    it    in    English.      So,  too,    her-  name "  (Misnomer) ;    limau  nipis,   lit. 

olak    dapor    means     "The     Kitchen  means  "thin  lime." 
Loafer  "  (Loafer  of  the  Kitchen). 


is  peculiar  that  Chinese  have  this  superstition  con- 
cerning limes  as  well  as  Malays  ;  not  very  long  ago  a 
Chinese  towkay  of  a  mine  complained  that  the  men  of 
a  rival  kongsi1  had  brought  limes  and  squeezed  the 
juice  into  his  head  race,  and,  furthermore,  had  rubbed 
their  bodies  with  the  juice  mixed  with  water  out  of  his 
head  race,  and  he  said  they  had  committed  a  very 
grave  offence,  and  asked  that  they  might  be  punished 
for  it. 

"  With  Malays  this  appears  to  be  one  of  the  most 
important  pantang'  rules,  and  to  such  a  length  is  it 
carried  that  belachan  (shrimp-paste)  is  not  allowed 
to  be  brought  on  to  a  mine  for  fear  it  should  induce 
people  to  bring  limes  as  well,  lime-juice  being  a 
necessary  adjunct  to  belachan  when  prepared  for  eating. 

"  Buah  rumput?  or  bunga  rumput,  instead  of  biji— 
tin  sand. 

"  Akar,  or  akar  hidop?  instead  of  ular — snake. 

"  Kunyit?  instead  of  lipan — centipede. 

"  Batu  puteh?  instead  of  timah — metallic  tin. 

"It  was  important  that  the  Pawang  should  be  a 
marked  man  as  to  personal  appearance  ;  for  this  reason 
there  are  certain  positions  of  the  body  which  may  be 
assumed  by  him  only  when  on  the  mine.  These 
attitudes  are — first,  standing  with  the  hands  clasped 
behind  the  back  ;  and,  secondly,  with  the  hands  resting 
on  the  hips.  This  second  position  is  assumed  when  he 
is  engaged  in  '  invocating '  the  '  spirits '  of  a  mine  ; 
the  pawang  takes  his  station  in  front  of  ti\z  genggulang? 

1  Kongsi,     i.e.     "company,     firm,  6  Kunyit   means    "saffron."      The 

gang."  allusion  is  not  evident. 

"  Pantang)  i.e.  "taboo."  a  Batu  puteh  means  "  white  stone" 

3  Buah     rumpnt    means     "Grass-  or  "white  rock." 

seed ;"  Bunga  rumput,  "  Grass-flower. "  "  Gettggulang,    explained    by    Mr. 

4  Akar  hidop,   lit.    "live  creeper."       Hale  as  meaning  " altar,"  vide  p.  260, 
The  allusion  is  obvious.  infra. 



having  a  long  piece  of  white  cloth  in  his  right  hand, 
which  he  waves  backwards  and  forwards  over  his 
shoulder  three  times,  each  time  calling  the  special 
hantu  whom  he  wishes  to  propitiate,  by  name ;  whilst 
engaged  in  this  invocation  his  left  hand  rests  on  his 

o    o 

hip.  During  the  performance  of  any  professional  duty 
he  is  also  invariably  dressed  in  a  black  coat ;  this 
nobody  but  ti\z.  pawang  is  allowed  to  wear  on  a  mine. 
These  attitudes  and  the  black  coat  comprise  what  is 
technically  termed  \h&  pakei  pawang. 

"  The  professional  duty  of  the  pawang  of  a  mine 
consists  in  carrying  out  certain  ceremonies,  for  which 
he  is  entitled  to  collect  the  customary  fees,  and  in 
enforcing  certain  rules  for  the  breach  of  which  he  levies 
the  customary  fines.1 

"  At  the  time  of  the  opening  of  a  mine  he  has  to 
erect  a  genggulang?  and  to  call  upon  the  tutelary 

1  About  1878,  the  principal 
pawang  of  the  Larut  district,  one 
Pa'Itam  Dam,  applied  to  me  as  Assist- 
ant-Resident to  reinstate  him  in  the 
duties  and  privileges  which  he  had  en- 
joyed under  the  Orang  Kaya  Mantri, 
and  before  him,  under  Che  Long  J'affar. 
He  describes  the  customary  ceremonies 
and  dues  to  be  as  follows  : — He  had  to 
visit  all  the  mines  from  time  to  time, 
especially  those  from  which  tin-ore  was 
being  removed  ;  if  the  daily  output  of 
tin  suddenly  decreased  on  any  mine  it 
was  his  business  at  once  to  repeat 
certain  invocations  (puja}  to  induce  the 
tin-ore  to  remain  (handak  di-pulih  balik 
sapaya  jangan  mengorang  bijf).  Once 
in  every  two  or  three  years  it  was 
necessary  to  carry  out  an  important 
ceremony  {puja  besar}  which  involved 
the  slaying  of  three  buffaloes  and  a 
great  feast,  the  expense  of  which  had 
to  be  borne  by  the  pawang.  On  the 
day  of  the  puja  besar  strict  abstinence 
from  work  is  enjoined  on  every  one  in 
the  district,  no  one  might  break  ground 

or  even  pull  up  weeds  or  cut  wood  in 
the  whole  province.  Further,  no 
stranger  whose  home  was  three  days' 
journey  away  might  enter  one  of  the 
mines  under  a  penalty  of  twenty-five 

The  pawang  was  entitled  to  exact 
from  the  owners  of  mines  a  custom- 
ary payment  of  one  slab  of  tin  (or 
$6.25  in  cash)  per  annum  for  every 
sluice-box  (palong)  in  work  during  the 

In  any  mine  from  which  the  tin-ore 
had  not  yet  been  removed  it  was  strictly 
forbidden  to  wear  shoes  or  to  carry  an 
umbrella ;  no  Malay  might  wear  a 

The  Chinese  miners,  always  super- 
stitiously  disposed,  used  (under  Malay 
rule)  to  adhere  to  these  rules  and  sub- 
mit to  these  exactions,  but  since  1875 
the  pawang  has  found  his  occupation 
and  income,  in  Larut  at  all  events, 
gone.— Ed././?. A.S.,  S.B. 

2  Altar. 


hantu  of  the  locality  to  assist  in  the  enterprise.  The 
fee  for  this  is  one  bag  (karong]  of  tin  sand. 

"At  the  request  of  the  miners,  instead  of  a  geng- 
gnlang  a  kapala  nasi1  may  be  erected,  as  cheaper  and 
more  expeditious.  The  fee  is  one  gantang 2  of  tin  sand. 

41  He  also  assists  in  the  ceremony  of  hanging  the 
ancha 3  in  the  smelting-house ;  his  principal  associate 
in  this  is  the  Panglima  Klian,  who  draws  the  ancha 
up  to  its  proper  position  close  under  the  attaps. 

"  i.  Raw  cotton  must  not  be  brought  on  to  a 
mine  in  any  shape,  either  in  its  native  state  or  as 
stuffing  of  bolsters  or  mattresses.  The  fine  (hukum 
pawang]  is  $i  2.50 ;  the  ordinary  pillow  used  by  a  miner 
is  made  of  some  soft  wood. 

"  2.  Black  coats  and  the  attitudes  designated  pakei 
pawang*  may  not  be  assumed  by  any  one  on  the  mine, 
with  the  exception  of  the  pawang.  (Hukum  pawang, 

"  3.  The  gourd  used  as  a  water  vessel  by  Malays, 
all  descriptions  of  earthenware,  glass,  and  all  sorts  of 
limes  and  lemons,  and  the  outer  husk  of  the  cocoa-nut, 
are  prohibited  articles  on  mines.  (Hukum  pawang, 

"  Note. — All  eating-  and  drinking-vessels  should  be 
made  of  cocoa-nut  shell  or  of  wood  :  the  noise  made  by 
earthenware  and  glass  is  said  to  be  offensive  to  the 
hantu.  But  in  the  case  of  a  breach  of  this  regulation 
the  pawang  would  warn  the  offenders  two  or  three 
times  before  he  claimed  the  fine. 

1  A  small  tray  or  platform  for  offer-  8  In  Selangor   anchak  is  the  form 
i«gs,   supported   by  a  central   "  leg,"  used.     It  means  a  sacrificial  tray  (for 
vide  Mr.  Hale's  description,  s.v.  Kapala  offerings  to  the  spirits),  vide  infra,  pp. 
nasi  (infra).  260,  310-313,  414-423. 

2  Gantang  is    a    measure   approxi-  *  Lit.  the  "  Magician's  wear. " 
mately  equivalent  to  a  gallon. 


"  4.  Gambling  and  quarrelling  are  strictly  forbidden 
on  mines ;  the  fine  is  claimed  for  the  first  offence. 
(Hukum  pawang,  $12.50.) 

"  5.  Wooden  aqueducts  (palong)  must  be  prepared 
in  the  jungle  a  long  way  from  the  mine.  (Hukum 
pawang,  $12.50.) 

"  The  noise  of  the  chopping  is  said  to  be  offensive 
to  the  hantu. 

"  6.  Any  breach  of  the  bahasa  pantang  is  an 
offence.  (Hukum  pawang,  $12.50.) 

"7.  Charcoal  must  not  be  allowed  to  fall  into  the 
races.  (Hukum  pawang,  $12.50.) 

"  8.  A  miner  must  not  wear  and  go  to  work  on  the 
mine  in  another  man's  trousers.  (Hukum  pawang,  one 
karong  of  tin  sand.) 

"Note. — This  applies  only  to  the  senar  seluar 
basah,  or  working  dress.  It  is  also  an  offence  to  work 
in  the  garment  called  sarong. 

"9.  If  the  chupak  (measure)  of  the  mine  is  broken, 
it  must  be  renewed  within  three  days.  (Hukum 
pawang,  one  bhara  of  tin.) 

"  10.  No  weapon  may  be  brought  within  the  four 
posts  of  the  smelting-house  which  immediately  surround 
the  furnace.  (Hukum  pawang,  $1.25.) 

"n.  Coats  may  not  be  worn  within  this  space. 
(Hukum  pawang,  $1.25.) 

"12.  These  posts  may  not  be  cut  or  hacked. 
(Hukum pawang,  one  slab  of  tin.) 

"13.  If  a  miner  returns  from  work,  bringing  back 
with  him  some  tin  sand,  and  discovers  that  somebody 
has  eaten  the  cold  rice  which  he  had  left  at  home,  he 
may  claim  from  the  delinquent  one  karong  of  tin  sand. 
The  pawang  adjudicates  in  the  matter. 

"14.  An  earthenware  pot  (priok)  which  is  broken 


must  be  replaced  within  three  days.  (Hukum  pawang, 
one  karong  of  tin  sand.) 

"  15.  No  one  may  cross  a  race  in  which  a  miner  is 
sluicing  without  going  some  distance  above  him,  up 
stream  ;  if  he  does  he  incurs  a  penalty  of  as  much  tin 
sand  as  the  race  contains  at  the  moment,  payable  to 
the  owner  of  the  race.  The pawang  adjudicates. 

"  1 6.  A  kris,  or  spear,  at  a  mine,  if  without  a  sheath, 
must  be  carefully  wrapped  in  leaves,  even  the  metal 
setting  (simpei)  must  be  hidden.  Spears  may  only  be 
carried  at  the  "trail."  (Hukum pawang,  uncertain.) 

"  1 7.  On  the  death  of  any  miner,  each  of  his  com- 
rades on  that  mine  pays  to  the  pawang  one  chupak 
(penjuru)  of  tin  sand. 

"It  will  be  noticed  that  the  amount  of  the  majority 
of  these  fines  is  $12.50  ;  this  is  half  of  the  amount  of 
the  fine  which,  under  the  Malay  customary  law,  a 
chief  could  impose  on  a  ra'iyat l  for  minor  offences.  It 
is  also  the  amount  of  the  customary  dowry  in  the  case 
of  a  marriage  with  a  slave  or  with  the  widow  or  divorced 
wife  of  a  ra'iyat. 

"  The  Malay  miner  has  peculiar  ideas  about  tin  and 
its  properties ;  in  the  first  instance,  he  believes  that  it 
is  under  the  protection  and  command  of  certain  spirits 
whom  he  considers  it  necessary  to  propitiate  ;  next  he 
considers  that  the  tin  itself  is  alive  and  has  many  of 
the  properties  of  living  matter,  that  of  its  own  volition 
it  can  move  from  place  to  place,  that  it  can  reproduce 
itself,  and  that  it  has  special  likes — or  perhaps  affinities 
—for  certain  people  and  things,  and  vice  versa.  Hence 
it  is  advisable  to  treat  tin-ore  with  a  certain  amount  of 
respect,  to  consult  its  convenience,  and  what  is,  perhaps, 

1  Ra'iyat  is  used  here  to  denote  a       to  a  Chief  or  Raja.      It  is  sometimes 
man  of  the  common  people,  as  opposed       used  by  Malays  in  other  senses. 


more  curious,  to  conduct  the  business  of  mining  in  such 
a  way  that  the  tin-ore  may,  as  it  were,  be  obtained 
without  its  own  knowledge ! " 

Mr.  Hale  adds  an  interesting  vocabulary  of  Malay 
mining  terms  from  which  the  following  words  are  ex- 
tracted as  being  specially  connected  with  the  supersti- 
tions of  the  miners  : — 

Ancha. — A  square  frame  i'  6"  x  i'  6",  composed  of  strips  of 
split  bamboo  for  the  floor  and  four  pieces  of  peeled  wood 
for  the  sides.  The  proper  wood  is  kayu  sungkei?-  because  it 
has  flat  even  twigs  and  leaves  which  lie  flat  and  symmetrically; 
these  must  be  bound  together  with  a  creeper :  rattan  may 
not  be  used;  it  is  hung  to  the  tulang  bumbong^  just  under 
the  attaps 3  of  the  smelting-shed ;  it  is  used  as  an  altar,  the 
offerings  made  by  the  miners  to  the  spirits  being  placed 
on  it. 

Genggulang. — The  platform  or  altar  erected  by  the  pawang  at 
the  opening  of  a  mine.  It  should  be  built  entirely  of  kayu 
sungkei.  The  wood  is  peeled,  except  the  four  branches 
which  serve  as  posts ;  these  are  only  peeled  up  to  the  twigs 
and  leaves,  which  are  left  on,  about  4  feet  6  inches  from 
the  ground.  At  3  feet  3  inches  from  the  ground  a  square 
platform  of  round  peeled  sticks,  about  i  foot  3  inches 
each  way,  is  arranged ;  one  foot  above  the  level  of  the  plat- 
form a  sort  of  railing  is  fixed  round  three  sides  of  the  square, 
and  from  the  open  side  a  ladder  with  four  steps  reaches 
down  to  the  ground ;  the  railing  is  carried  down  to  the 
ground  on  each  side  of  the  ladder,  and  supports  a  fringe  of 
cocoa-nut  leaves  (jari-lipan).  The  whole  erection  must  be 
tied  together  with  creepers ;  rattan  must  not  be  used. 

Jari  lipan. — A  fringe  made  of  the  young  white  leaflets  of  the 
cocoa-nut  palm  plaited  together.4 

Jampi. — The  incantation  of  the  pawang. 

Kapala  nasi. — A  stake  of  peeled  wood  (kayu  sungkei)  stuck  in 
the  ground ;  the  top  of  this  is  split  into  four  so  as  to  support 

1  Seperti  sungkei  be-rendam,  "like  2  Beam  or  rafter  of  the  shed. 

a  soaked  sungkei  stick. "     When    the  3  Palm-leaf  thatch. 

sungkei  stick  has  been  soaked  for  a  4  Forbes    mentions    a    "palm -leaf 

long  time,  say  three  months,  the  peel  fringe "  used   in   certain   rites  by  the 

comes  clean  away ;  proverbial  expres-  Kalangs    of   Java.  —  A    Naturalist's 

sion  used  of  a  person  "cleaned  out."  Wanderings,  p.  101. 

v  THE  MINING  PA  WANG  261 

a  platform  similar  to  that  of  the  genggutang.     Offerings  are 
made  upon  it1 

Pantang  burok  mata. — The  period  of  mourning  observed  when 
a  death  occurs  at  a  mine. 

Mourning  consists  in  abstention  from  work  (in  the  case  of 
a  neighbour  or  comrade)  for  three  days,  or,  in  the  case  of  the 
death  of  the  pawang,  penghulu  kelian,  or  the  feudal  chief,  for 
seven  days.  The  expression  is  derived  from  the  supposition 
that  in  three  days  the  eyes  of  a  corpse  have  quite  disappeared. 
Chinese  miners  have  a  similar  custom ;  whoever  goes  to  assist 
in  the  burial  of  a  corpse  must  not  only  abstain  from  work, 
but  must  not  go  near  the  mine  or  smelting  furnace  for  three 

Perasap. — Half  a  cocoa-nut  shell,  a  cup,  or  any  other  vessel,  in 
which  votive  offerings  of  sweet-smelling  woods  and  gums  are 

Sangka. — A  receptacle  in  which  to  burn  offerings  of  sweet  woods 
and  gums ;  it  is  made  of  a  stick  of  bamboo  about  three  feet 
long,  one  end  being  split  and  opened  out  to  receive  the  char- 
coal ;  it  is  stuck  in  the  ground  near  races  and  heaps  of  tin 

Tatin  gulang. — The  pawang's  fee  for  the  ceremony  of  erecting  a 

The  following  notes  on  tin -mining  in  Selangor 
were  contributed  to  the  Selangor  Journal  \*y  Mr.  J.  C. 
Pasqual,  a  well-known  local  miner  : — 

"  The  Malay  mining  pawang  will  soon  be  a  thing 
of  the  past,  and  many  a  pawang  has  returned  to  tilling 
the  soil  in  place  of  his  less  legitimate  occupation  of 
imposing  upon  the  credulity  of  the  miners.  The 
reason  for  this  is  not  far  to  seek,  as  the  Malay  miner, 

1   "It  is  quite  a  common  thing  in  3  The  derivation  of  the  name  of  this 

Java  to  encounter  by  the  wayside  near  primitive  Malay  censer  from  the  Sans- 

a  village,  or  in  a  rice-field,  or  below  krit    fankha    (conch    shell)    has   been 

the  shade  of  a  great  dark  tree,  a  little  pointed  out  (Maxwell,  Malay  Manual, 

platform  with  an  offering  of  rice  and  p.  32).      Forbes  notes  having  seen  in 

prepared    fruits    to  keep   disease   and  a  sacred  grove  in  Java  "  the  remnants 

blight  at  a  distance  and  propitiate  the  of  small  torches  of  sweet  gums  which 

spirits." — A  Naturalists  Wanderings,  had    been    offered." — A   Naturalist's 

Forbes,  p.  103.  Wanderings,  p.  97. 

8  In  Selangor  this  custom  is  now  *  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  16,  pp.  310- 

obsolete. — Sel.  Jour.  vol.  iii.  No.  18,  320. 
p.  294. 


as  well  as  the  Chinese  miner,  of  the  old  school,  with 
their  thousand-and-one  superstitions,  has  given  place 
to  a  more  modern  and  matter-of-fact  race,  who  place 
more  reliance  for  prospecting  purposes  on  boring  tools 
than  on  the  divination  and  jampi  of  the  pawang. 
But  the  profession  of  the  pawang  has  not  altogether 
died  out,  as  he  is  sometimes  called  into  requisition  for 
the  purpose  of  casting  out  evil  spirits  from  the  mines  ; 
of  converting  amang1  (pyrites)  into  tin -ore,  and  of 
invoking  the  spirits  of  a  mine  previous  to  the  breaking 
of  the  first  sod  in  a  new  venture.  These  ceremonies 
generally  involve  the  slaying  of  a  buffalo,  a  goat,  or 
fowls,  and  the  offering  of  betel-leaf,  incense,  and  rice, 
according  to  the  means  of  the  towkay  lombong. 

"  The  term  pawang  is  now  used  by  the  Chinese 
to  indicate  the  'smelter'  (Chinese)  of  a  mine  (prob- 
ably from  the  fact  that  this  office  was  formerly  the 
monopoly  of  the  Malay  pawang]. 

"To  the  pawangs  are  attributed  extraordinary 
powers,  for  besides  inducing  tin-ore  to  continue  or 
become  plentiful  in  a  mine,  he  can  cause  its  disappear- 
ance from  a  rich  '  claim  '  by  the  inevitable  jampi,  this 
latter  resource  being  resorted  to  by  way  of  revenge 
in  cases  where  the  towkay  lombong  (or  labor]  fails 
to  carry  out  his  pecuniary  obligation  towards  the 
pawang  whose  aid  he  had  invoked  in  less  prosperous 
times.  Some  of  the  stories  told  of  the  prowess  of 
pawangs  are  very  ridiculous ;  for  instance,  a  native 
lady  in  Ulu  Langat  (for  women  are  also  credited  with 
the  pawang  attributes),  who  was  the  pawang  of  Sungei 
Jelok  in  Kajang,  could  command  a  grain  of  tin-ore 

1  Cliff,  and  Swett. ,  Malay  Diet.  >  s.v.  this  name.  They  are  all  considered 
Amang :  "tourmaline,  wolfram,  and  impurities,  and  tourmaline  is  the  one 
titaniferous  iron-ore  are  all  called  by  most  commonly  met  with. " 


to  crawl  on  the  palm  of  her  hand  like  a  live  worm.1 
The  failure  of  the  Sungei  Jelok  mines  was  attributed 
to  her  displeasure  on  account  of  an  alleged  breach  of 
contract  on  the  part  of  the  towkay  lombong. 

"  The  term  pawang  is  sometimes  used  as  a  verb 
in  the  sense  of  '  to  prospect '  a  sungei  or  stream  ; 
thus  in  alluding  to  certain  streams  or  mines,  it  is  not 
uncommon  to  hear  a  Malay  say  that  they  have  been 
prospected  (sudah  di-pawangkan)  by  'Inche'  So-and- 
so — meaning  that  the  stream  had  been  discovered 
and  proved  by  a  pawang  prior  to  the  opening  of  the 

In  a  later  article  Mr.  Pasqual  says:  "It  is  be- 
lieved that  tin  will  even  on  rare  occasions  announce 
its  presence  by  a  peculiar  noise  heard  in  the  stillness 
of  night,  and  that  some  birds  and  insects  by  their 
chirrupings  and  whirrings  will  proclaim  its  where- 

In  a  still  later  article,  after  briefly  referring  to  the 
use  of  the  bhasa  pantang,  or  "  Taboo  Language," 
by  tin-miners  in  Selangor,  Mr.  Pasqual  proceeds  : — 

11  There  are,  again,  certain  acts  which  are  forbidden. 
In  the  mine,  especially  if  the  karang*  has  not  yet  been 
removed,  it  is  forbidden  to  wear  shoes  or  carry  an 
umbrella.  This  rule,  it  seems,  originated  with  the 
coolies  themselves,  who  in  olden  times  insisted  that  the 
Towkay  Labur  should  take  off  his  shoes  and  close  his 
umbrella  whenever  he  visited  the  mine,  so  that,  as  they 
alleged,  the  spirits  might  not  be  offended.  But  their 
real  object  was  not  to  allow  him  to  pry  too  much  into 

1  The  Malay  was  saptrti  ulat  hidup,  3  Set.  Journ.    vol.    iv.    No.    2,    p. 

which  would  rather  mean  "  like  live  26. 

maggots." — W.S.  *  i.e.  tin-bearing  stratum  and  stone 

8  Sel.  Journ.  vol.   iii.   No.    1 8,  pp.  overlying  the  ore. 
293.  294- 


the  mine,  in  case  it  might  not  bear  scrutiny ;  and  thus, 
by  depriving  him  of  the  protection  from  the  sun  and 
from  the  rough  mining  quartz  which  would  have  been 
afforded  by  the  umbrella  and  shoes,  they  prevented 
him  from  going  about  here,  there,  and  everywhere,  and 
making  unpleasant  inquiries,  as  he  would  otherwise 
have  liked  to  do. 

"  Quarrelling  and  fighting  in  the  mine  is  strictly 
forbidden,  as  it  has  a  tendency  to  drive  away  the  ore. 

"  Bathing  in  the  mine  is  not  allowed. 

"  A  man  must  not  work  in  the  mine  with  only 
his  bathing- cloth  around  his  body.  He  must  wear 

"  If  a  man  takes  off  his  sun  hat  and  puts  it  on  the 
ground,  he  must  turn  it  over  and  let  it  rest  upon  its 

"  Limes  cannot  be  brought  into  the  mine.  This 
superstition  is  peculiar  to  the  Malay  miner,  who  has  a 
special  dread  of  this  fruit,  which,  in  pantang  language, 
he  calls  salah  nama  (lit.  '  wrong  name  ')  instead  of  limau 

"In  looking  at  the  check-roll  it  is  forbidden  to  point 
at  the  names  with  the  finger.  No  one  may  examine 
the  check-roll  at  night  with  an  open  light,  owing  more 
probably  to  the  fear  of  setting  it  on  fire  than  to  super- 
stitious prejudices. 

"It  is  considered  unlucky  for  a  man  to  fall  off  the 
mining  ladder,  for,  whether  he  is  hurt  or  not,  he  is 
likely  to  die  within  the  year. 

"An  outbreak  of  fire  in  the  mine  is  considered  an 
omen  of  prosperity.  Several  mines  have  been  known 
to  double  or  treble  their  output  of  tin  after  the  occur- 
rence of  a  fire. 

"It  is   unlucky  for  a  coolie  to  die  in  the  kongsi 


house.  When,  therefore,  a  man  is  very  sick  and  past 
all  hopes  of  recovery,  it  is  customary  to  put  him  out  of 
the  house  in  an  extempore  hut  erected  in  the  scrub, 
so  that  death  may  not  take  place  in  the  kongsi  amongst 
the  living.  His  ckuleis1  attend  him  during  his  last 
hours  and  bury  him  when  dead.  These  and  other 
superstitious  ideas  and  observances  are,  however,  fast 
dying  out,  though  it  would  still  be  an  unsafe  experi- 
ment to  enter  a  mine  with  shoes  on  and  an  umbrella 
over  your  head." 8 

The  remaining  notes  on  mining  ceremonies  and 
charms  were  collected  by  me  in  Selangor.  On  reach- 
ing the  tin-bearing  stratum,  the  tin-ore  is  addressed 
by  name  : — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Tin-Ore, 
At  the  first  it  was  dew  that  turned  into  water, 
And  water  that  turned  into  foam, 
And  foam  that  turned  into  rock, 
And  rock  that  turned  into  tin-ore ; 
Do  you,  O  Tin-Ore,  lying  in  a  matrix  of  solid  rock, 
Come  forth  from  this  matrix  of  solid  rock ; 
If  you  do  not  come  forth 
You  shall  be  a  rebel  in  the  sight  of  God. 
Ho,  Tin-Ore,  Sir  '  Floating  Islet,' 
1  Flotsam-at-sea,'  and  '  Flotsam-on-land,' 
Do  you  float  up  to  the  surface  of  this  my  tank,3 
Or  you  shall  be  a  rebel  to  God,"  etc. 

Sometimes  each  grain  of  ore  appears  to  be  con- 
sidered as  endowed  with  a  separate  entity  or  individu- 
ality. Thus  we  find  in  another  invocation  the  following 
passage,  where  the  wizard  is  addressing  the  grains  of 
ore : — 

1  i.e.  his  "connections."  are  worked  in  the  Malay  States  being 

*  Set.  Journ.  vol.  iv.  No.  8,  p.  139.       **  °f  thre  removaj  of  the  overburden, 

which,  of  course,  forms  immense  pits, 

3  "This  my  tank"  is  an  allusion  to       such  as  are  here  likened  to  an  (empty), 
the  mine,  the  system  on  which  mines      tank  or  reservoir. 


"  Do  You  (Grains  of  Ore)  that  are  on  the  Hills  descend  to  the 


You  that  are  at  the  Head-waters  descend  to  Mid-stream, 
You  that  are  at  the  Estuary  ascend  to  Mid-stream. 
And  assemble  yourselves  together  in  this  spot. 

Assemble  yourselves  together,  '  Rice-grains '  and  '  Spinach-seed,' 

'Tobacco-seed,'  'Millet,'  and  'Wild  Ginger-Seed,' 

Assemble  ye  together  in  this  spot. 

I  am  desirous  of  excavating  this  spot, 

And  of  making  a  mine  here ; 

If  ye  do  not  assemble  yourselves  together 

I  shall  curse  you  ; 

You  shall  be  turned  into  dust,  and  turned  into  air, 

And  you  shall  also  be  turned  into  water." 

The  separate  personality  of  each  individual  grain 
is  remarkably  clear  in  the  above  passage.  The  names 
of  the  different  kinds  of  seed  are  in  allusion  to  the 
various  shapes  and  sizes  of  the  grains  of  ore. 

Yet  in  the  very  same  charm  various  kinds  of 
lizards  and  centipedes  are  begged  to  "bring  the  tin- 
ore  with  them,  some  of  them  a  grain  or  two,  some  of 
them  a  fistful  or  two,  some  of  them  a  gallon  or  two, 
some  of  them  a  load  or  two,"  and  so  on.  No  doubt 
the  wizard  was  determined  to  allow  the  grains  no 
loophole  for  escape. 

The  objects  of  the  charms  employed  by  the  mining 
wizards  are  the  following  : — 

(i)  To  clear  the  jungle  of  evil  spirits  (and  pro- 
pitiate the  good  ones?)  before  starting  to  fell,  as  is 
shown  by  the  following  passage  : — 

"  O  Grandfather  King  Solomon,  Black  King  Solomon, 
I  desire  to  fell  these  woods, 
But  it  is  not  I  who  am  in  charge  of  these  woods, 
It  is  Yellow  King  Solomon  who  is  in  charge  of  them, 
And  Red  King  Solomon  who  is  in  charge  of  them. 
It  is  I  who  fell  the  jungle, 

But  only  with  the  permission  of  those  two  persons. 
Rise,  rise,  O  Ye  who  watch  it  (the  tin  ?), 


[Here  are]  three  'chews'  of  betel  for  you,  and  three  cigarettes, 

0  Maimurup,  O  Maimerah,  O  Gadek  Hitam, 

Si  Gadek  Hitam  (Black  Grannie)  from  Down-stream, 
Si  Gadek  Kuning  (Yellow  Grannie)  from  Up-stream, 
And  Si  Maimerah  from  Mid-stream." 

(Here  some  lines  follow  which  are  as  yet  untrans- 

"  Retire  ye  and  avaunt  from  hence, 
If  ye  retire  not  from  hence, 
As  you  stride,  your  leg  shall  break, 

As  you  stretch  your  hand  out,  your  hand  shall  be  crippled, 
As  you  open  your  eye  (to  look),  your  eyeball  shall  burst, 
Your  eye  stabbed  through  with  a  thorn  of  the  T'rong  Asam,1 
And  your  hand  pierced  with  the  Sega  jantan? 
And  your  finger-nails  with  Heart  of  Brazilwood. 
Moreover,  your  tongue  shall  be  slit  with  a  bamboo  splinter, 
For  thus  was  it  sworn  by  '  Grandfather  Sakernanaininaini ' 3 
Into  the  leaf  (of  the)  Putajaya, 
Upon  the  summit  of  the  mountain  of  Ceylon. 

1  know  the  origin  from  which  you  spring, 
From  the  Black  Blood  and  the  Red, 
That  was  your  origin. 

We  are  two  sons  of  one  father,  but  with  different  inheritances ; 
In  my  charge  is  Gold  and  Tin-ore, 
In  yours  are  Rocks  and  Sand, 
With  chaff  and  bran." 

(2)  To  clear   evil   spirits  away  from  the  ground 
before   commencing   the    work   of  excavation.     The 
charm  for  this  is  given  in  the  Appendix,  but  is  little 
more  than  a  list  of  names. 

(3)  To  propitiate  the  local  spirits  and  induce  the 
tin-ore  to  show  itself,  when  the  tin-bearing  stratum  is 
reached,  by  means  of  the  charm  quoted  above. 

1  A  plant,  possibly  Solatium  aculea-  of  the  kabong-yakm.  (Artnga  sacchari- 

tissimnm,  Jacq.,  which  has  very  thorny  fera,  L.) 

orange-coloured  fruits.  s  Presumably  a  corruption  of  Iskandar 

8  Stga  is  a  species  of  rattan  (Calamus  zu  '1-Karnain,  i.e.  Alexander  the  Great, 

viminalis  or  Calamus  ornatus,  Griff. ) ;  who  plays  a  considerable  part  in  Malay 

but  probably  the  better  reading  here  is  legendary  history. 
sfgar,  which  means  a  long  black  spike 


(4)  To  induce  the  spirits  to  partake  of  a  banquet 
which  is  spread  for  them  in  a  receptacle  intended 
to  be  the  model  of  a  royal  audience-chamber. 

This,  the  "spirits'  audience -chamber"  (as  it  is 
called),  is  usually  from  two  to  three  feet  square,  and 
is  filled  with  offerings  similar  in  character  to  those 
usually  deposited  on  the  sacrificial  tray  (anchaK),  with 
the  addition,  however,  of  certain  articles  which  are 
considered  to  be  specially  representative  of  the  miners' 
food.  These  articles  are  sugar-cane,  plantains,  yams, 
sweet  potatoes,  and  fish,  etc. ;  all  of  which  should  be 
placed  together  with  the  customary  offerings  in  the 
"  spirits'  audience-chamber."  Outside  the  "audience- 
hall,"  at  each  of  the  two  front  corners,  should  be 
placed  a  red  and  a  white  flag  and  a  wax  taper ;  and  at 
each  of  the  two  back  corners  should  be  placed  a  taper, 
making  in  all  four  flags  and  seven  tapers. 

A  standard  censer  (perasapan)  must  be  erected  in 
front  of  the  "  audience-chamber,"  and  a  second  small 
censer  must  also  be  obtained,  so  that  burning  incense 
may  be  "  waved  "  to  and  fro  underneath  the  floor  of 
the  audience-chamber  in  order  to  fumigate  it  before 
the  offerings  are  deposited  inside  it. 

During  the  fumigation  a  charm  is  recited,  in  which 
the  assistance  of  the  spirits  of  certain  canonized 
Muhammadan  worthies  is  invoked,  concluding 
thus : — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  White  Sheikh,  wizard  of  the  virgin 


Wizards  old,  and  wizards  young, 

Come  hither  and  share  the  banquet  I  have  prepared  for  you. 
I  crave  pardon  for  all  mistakes, 
For  all  shortcomings  I  beg  pardon  in  every  particular." 

Then  when  the  tapers  are  all  lighted  and  the  offer- 


ings  ready,  a  further  charm  is  recited,  which  begins  as 
follows : — 

"  Ho,  White  Sheikh,  king  of  the  virgin  jungle, 
It  is  you  to  whom  belong  all  people  of  the  jungle  and  virgin 


Do  you,  whose  back  is  turned  towards  heaven, 
Give  your  orders  to  all  the  Elders  of  the  earth  and  Princes 

who  are  here, 

You  who  here  hold  the  position  of  Indra, 
Come  hither  and  partake  of  my  banquet. 

I  wish  to  ask  for  your  assistance, 

I  wish  to  open  (excavate)  this  mine." l 

The  chief  taboos  are  the  killing  of  any  sort  of  living 
creature  within  the  mine ;  to  wear  a  sarong  (Malay 
skirt) ;  to  bring  into  the  mine  the  skin  of  any  beast ; 
and  to  wear  shoes  or  use  an  umbrella  within  the  mine. 
These  are  some  of  the  perpetual  taboos,  but  no  doubt 
there  are  many  others. 

In  the  case  of  a  sacrifice,  however,  the  white  buffalo 
may  of  course  be  killed,  not  within  the  mine  itself,  but 
still  upon  its  brink ;  and  when  this  is  done,  the  head  is 
buried,  and  small  portions  (which  must  be  "  repre- 
sentative "  of  every  part  of  the  carcase)  should  be  taken 
and  deposited  in  the  "  audience-chamber." 

Among  the  seven  days'  taboos  are  mentioned  the 
killing  of  any  living  timber  (within  the  precincts  of  the 
mine  ?),  lewdness,  and  the  praising  or  admiring  of  the 
"grass  seed"  (puji  buah  rumpuf],  which  is  the  name 
by  which  the  tin-ore  must  invariably  be  called  within 
the  precincts  of  the  mine.  This  last  taboo  is  due  to 
the  use  of  a  special  mining  vocabulary  to  which  the 
greatest  attention  was  formerly  paid,  and  which  did 
not  differ  very  greatly  from  that  used  in  Perak. 

1    Vide  App.  cxviii.,  cxix. 


Another  account  of  the  ceremony  runs  as  follows  ; 
I  give  it  word  for  word  as  I  took  it  down  from  my 
Malay  informant : — 

"  Take  five  portions  of  cooked  and  five  portions  of 
uncooked  fowls,  both  white  and  black,  together  with 
black  pulut  rice,1  millet-seed  (sekoi\  seeds  of  the 
chebak  China,  etc.  etc.  When  all  is  ready,  burn 
incense,  scatter  the  black  rice  with  the  right  hand  over 
the  bottom  of  a  tray,  i.e.  an  ancJiak  (such  as  is  used  for 
offerings  to  the  spirits),  fumigate  and  deposit  the  offer- 
ings in  five  portions  upon  this  layer  of  rice  (one  portion 
going  to  each  corner  and  one  to  the  middle  of  the 
tray).  Take  black  cloth,  five  cubits  long,  fumigate  it, 
and  wave  it  thrice  round  the  head  with  the  right  hand 
from  left  to  right,  repeating  the  following  invocation 
(serapaK) : — 

"  O  Grandfather  '  Batin ' 2  the  Elder, 
In  whose  charge  are  caverns  and  hill-locked  basins, 
O  Grandfather  '  Batin '  the  Younger, 

In  whose  charge  are  all  these  your  civil  and  military  companies, 
May  the  Ore  which  is  on  the  Hills  descend  to  the  Plain, 
May  that  which  is  Up-stream  descend  to  Mid-stream, 
And  that  which  is  Down-stream  ascend  to  Mid-stream, 
Assemble  you  together,  O  Ores,  in  this  spot ; 
It  is  not  I  who  call  you, 

It  is  Grandfather  Batin  the  Elder  who  calls  you, 
It  is  Batin  the  Younger  who  calls  you, 
It  is  the  Elder  Wizard  who  calls  you, 
It  is  the  Younger  Wizard  who  calls  you, 
Assemble  yourselves  together,  Rubbish  and  Trash, 
House-lizards,  '  Kalerik]  Centipedes,  and  Millipedes, 
And  partake  of  my  banquet. 
Let  whosoever  comes  bring  me  ore, 
A  ketongz  or  two, 

1  Oryza  sativa,  L.  var.  3  Kftong  as  a  dry  measure   is  not 

2  Batin  is  a  title  of  certain  Chiefs  to  be  found  in  the  dictionaries.     V.  d. 
amongst  the  aboriginal   tribes   of  the  Wall,  however,  gives  a  form  kentong 
southern   part  of  the    Peninsula.      It  (with  which  it  may  be  connected)  as 
appears  to  have  been  in  former  days  meaning  an  earthen  pot,  formerly  used 
sometimes  borne  by  Malays  also.  for  holding  /a/a«,f-sugar. 


A  fistful  or  two, 

An  arai l  or  two, 

A  gallon  or  two, 

A  basket  or  two, 

Assemble  yourselves  together,  Boiled  Rice-seed, 

Spinach-seed,  Tobacco-seed,  Millet-seed,  Wild  Ginger-seed, 

Assemble  yourselves  together  in  this  spot. 

I  wish  to  excavate  this  spot, 

I  wish  to  open  a  mine  : 

If  you  do  not  come,  if  you  do  not  gather  yourselves  together, 

I  shall  curse  you  ; 

You  shall  turn  into  dust,  into  air,  and  into  water. 

By  virtue  of  the  magic  arts  of  my  teacher  be  my  petition 


It  is  not  I  who  petition, 
It  is  the  Elder  Wizard  who  petitions, 
It  is  the  Younger  Wizard  who  petitions. 
By  the  grace  of  '  There  is  no  god  but  God/  "  etc. 

The  foregoing  descriptions  of  mining  ceremonies 
and  charms  refer  to  tin  only,  but  in  so  far  as  general 
animistic  ideas  go,  they  might  be  equally  well  applied 
to  other  metals,  such  as  silver  and  gold. 

It  has  already  been  remarked  that  as  the  Tin  spirit 
is  believed  to  take  the  form  of  a  buffalo,  so  the 
Gold  spirit  is  said  to  take  the  form  of  a  golden 
roe-deer  (kijang).  Of  the  ceremonies  which  the 
Malays  believe  to  be  essential  for  successful  gold- 
mining,  not  much  information  has  yet  been  published. 
In  Denys'  Descriptive  Dictionary,  however,  we  read 
the  following : — 

"  Gold  is  believed  to  be  under  the  care  and  in  the 
gift  of  a  dewa,  or  god,  and  its  search  is  therefore  un- 
hallowed, for  the  miners  must  conciliate  the  dewa  by 
prayers  and  offerings,  and  carefully  abstain  from  pro- 
nouncing the  name  of  God  or  performing  any  act  of 
worship.  Any  acknowledgment  of  the  sovereignty  of 
Allah  offends  the  dewa,  who  immediately  '  hides  the 

1  An  arai  is  an  Achinese  measure  [  =  2  chtipak\,  about  3 \  Ibs. 


gold,'  or  renders  it  invisible.  At  some  of  the  great 
limbongan 1  mas  or  gold-pits  in  the  Malay  States  of  the 
interior,  any  allusion  to  the  Deity  subjects  the  unwitting 
miner  to  a  penalty  which  is  imposed  by  the  Penghtilu. 
The  qualities  of  the  gold  vary  greatly  in  the  same 
country.  The  finest  gold  brought  to  market  is  that  of 
the  principality  of  Pahang,  on  the  eastern  side  of  the 
Malay  Peninsula,  which  brings  a  higher  price  than 
even  that  of  Australia  by  better  than  three  per  cent. 
The  gold  is  all  obtained  by  washing,  and  the  metal  has 
never  been  worked,  and  scarcely  even  traced  to  the 
original  veins.  It  is  mostly  in  the  form  of  powder  or 
dust — the  mas-urai  of  the  Malays,  literally  'loose  or 
disintegrated  gold.' " 2 

Gold,  silver,  and  an  amalgam  formed  of  the  two, 
are  regarded  as  the  three  most  precious  metals,  and  of 
these  gold  is,  to  a  very  uncertain  and  partial  extent, 
still  sometimes  regarded  as  a  royal  prerogative.3 

Of  Silver  still  less  information  has  been  collected 
than  of  gold.  This,  however,  is  but  natural,  as  silver 
has  not  yet  been  found  in  payable  quantities,  whereas 
many  gold  mines  exist.  It  is  just  possible,  however, 
that  silver  may  be  worked  by  the  Malays  on  a  small 
scale  in  the  Siamese-Malay  States,  as  it  would  be  diffi- 
cult on  any  other  hypothesis  to  account  for  the  follow- 
ing invocation,  which  was  given  me  by  a  Malay  of 
Kelantan  ('Che  'Abas)  :— 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Child  of  the  Solitary  Jin  Salaka  (Silver), 
I  know  your  origin. 

1  Sic :  quaere  lombong  ?  the  wearing  the  koronchong,  or  hollow 

2  Denys,     Descr.     Diet,     of   Brit.  bracelets    of    gold,    ornamented   with 
Malaya,  s.v.  Gold.  silver." 

3  Vide  Leyden,  Malay  Annals,   p.  Two   legends,    which    connect    the 
94.    "  He  (the  Sultan),  also  prohibited  wild   boar   with   the  precious  metals, 
the  ornamenting  of  creeses  with  gold,  have  already  been  mentioned,  -vide  p. 
and  the  wearing  anklets  of  gold,  and  188,  supra. 

v  SILVER  AND  IRON  273 

Your  dwelling-place  is  the  Yellow  Cloud  Rock ; 

The  Place  of  your  Penance  the  Sea  of  Balongan  Darah  ; 

The  Place  of  your  Penance  is  a  Pond  in  every  stream ; 

The  Place  of  your  Birth  was  the  Bay  where  the  Wind  Dies ; 

Ho,  Child  of  the  Solitary  Jin  Salaka, 

Come  hither  at  this  time,  this  very  moment, 

I  wish  to  make  you  a  propitiatory  offering,  to  banquet  you  on 

arrack  and  toddy. 

If  you  do  not  come  hither  at  this  very  moment 
You  shall  be  a  rebel  unto  God, 
And  a  rebel  unto  God's  Prophet  Solomon, 
For  I  am  God's  Prophet  Solomon" 

No  other  metals,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  are  worked 
to  any  extent  in  the  Peninsula,  yet  there  is  the  clearest 
possible  evidence  of  animistic  ideas  about  Iron.  Thus 
for  the  Sacred  Lump  of  Iron  which  forms  part  of  the 
regalia  of  more  than  one  of  the  petty  Sultans  in  the 
Peninsula,  the  Malays  entertain  the  most  extraordinary 
reverence,  not  unmingled  with  superstitious  terror.1  It 
is  upon  this  "  Lump  of  Iron,"  when  placed  in  water, 
that  the  most  solemn  and  binding  oath  known  to  those 
who  make  use  of  it  is  sworn  ;  and  it  is  to  this  "  Lump  of 
Iron  "  that  the  Malay  wizard  refers  when  he  recites  his 
category  of  the  most  terrible  denunciations  that  Malay 
magic  has  been  able  to  invent.2 

It  is  possible  that  there  may  be,   in  the   Malay 

1   Vide  v.  d.  Wall,    Malay  -  Dutch  oath   would    be   affected    by  a  severe 

Diet.,  s.v.   Kawi,  one   of  the   mean-  sickness,  and   in  the  case  of  a  Chief 

ings  of  which  he  explains  as  the  super-  the  sickness  affects  the  whole  tribe. " 
natural  power  of  anything.     He  pro-  jBisa  kawi  is  another  (West  Surna- 

ceeds      to     explain      btsi     kawi     as  tran)  form  of  this  expression.      Under 

follows  : — It  is  "a  piece  of  old  scrap-  Bisa  III.,  </.v.,  v.  d.  W.  remarks  that 

iron  with  supernatural  powers,  belong-  to  say,  ' '  May  you  be  struck  by  the  Bisa 

ing  to  the  royal  insignia  of  the  former  Kawi"  (lit.   Poison  of  Kawi),  is  the 

Kingdom  of  Johor,  now  [then?]  in  the  ugliest  wish  you  can  address  to  any- 

possession  of  the    Sultan   of   Lingga.  body,  as  it  is  supposed  to  bring  upon 

Whenever  an  oath  was  to  be  taken  by  the  person  so  addressed  every  possible 

a  subject,  the  Iron  would  be  immersed  kind  of  sickness. 

in  water  for  a  time,  and  the  patient  [sic]  2  For    examples    vide   the    charms 

had  to  drink  of  this  water  before  he  quoted   in   almost   every  part  of  this 

took  the  oath.     Whoever  took  a  false  book. 


mind  at  all  events,  some  connection  between  the 
supernatural  powers  ascribed  to  this  portion  of  the 
regalia  and  the  more  general  use  of  iron  as  a  charm 
against  evil  spirits.  For  the  various  forms  of  iron 
which  play  so  conspicuous  a  part  in  Malay  magic, 
from  the  long  iron  nail  which  equally  protects  the 
new-born  infant  and  the  Rice-Soul  from  the  powers 
of  evil,  to  the  betel-nut  scissors  which  are  believed  to 
scare  the  evil  spirits  from  the  dead,  are  alike  called  the 
representatives  (symbols  or  emblems)  of  Iron  (tanda 
best).  So,  too,  is  the  blade  of  the  wood- knife,  or  cutlass, 
which  a  jungle  Malay  will  sometimes  plant  in  the  bed 
of  a  stream  (with  its  edge  towards  the  source)  before 
he  will  venture  to  drink  of  the  water.  So,  too,  is  the 
blade  of  the  same  knife,  upon  the  side  of  which  he 
will  occasionally  seat  himself  when  he  is  eating  alone 
in  the  forest ;  both  of  these  precautions  being  taken, 
however,  as  I  have  more  than  once  been  told,  not 
only  to  drive  away  evil  spirits,  but  to  "confirm"  the 
speaker's  own  soul  (menetapkan  semangaf). 

Even  Stone  appears  to  be  regarded  as  distinctly 
connected  with  ideas  of  animism.  Thus  the  stone 
deposited  in  the  basket  with  the  Rice-soul,  the  stone 
deposited  in  the  child's  swinging  cot  by  way  of  a 
substitute  when  the  child  is  temporarily  taken  out 
of  it,  and  above  all  the  various  concretions  to  be  found 
from  time  to  time  both  in  the  bodies  of  animals 
("Bezoar"  stones)  and  in  the  stems  or  fruit  of  trees 
(as  tabasheer],  are  examples  of  this.  Examples  of 
tabasheer  have  already  been  quoted  (under  Vegetation 
Charms),  but  a  few  remarks  about  Bezoar  stones  may 
be  of  interest. 

The  Bezoar  stones  known  to  the  Peninsular  Malays 
are  usually  obtained  either  from  monkeys  or  por- 


cupines.  Extraordinary  magical  virtues  are  attached 
to  these  stones,  the  gratings  of  which  are  mixed 
with  water  and  administered  to  the  sick.1 

I  was  once  asked  $200  for  a  small  stone  which 
its  owner  kept  in  cotton-wool  in  a  small  tin  box, 
where  it  lay  surrounded  by  grains  of  rice,  upon  which 
he  declared  that  it  fed.2  I  asked  him  how  it  could 
be  proved  that  it  was  a  true  Bezoar  stone  (which  it 
undoubtedly  was  not),  and  he  declared  that  if  it  were 
placed  upon  an  inverted  tumbler  and  touched  with 
the  point  of  a  Kris  (dagger)  or  a  lime-fruit  it  would 
commence  to  move  about.  Both  tests  were  therefore 
applied  in  my  presence,  but  the  motion  of  the  Bezoar 
stone  in  each  case  proved  to  be  due  to  the  most 
overt  trickery  on  the  part  of  the  owner,  who  by 
pressing  on  one  side  of  the  stone  (which  was  spherical 
in  shape)  naturally  caused  it  to  move ;  in  fact  I  was 
easily  able  to  produce  the  same  effect  in  the  same 
way,  as  I  presently  showed  him,  though  of  course 
he  could  not  be  brought  to  admit  the  deception.3 

1  "  It  is  a  very  general  belief  among  article  of  export  from  the  Rejang  and 
Malays  that  Guliga  [and]  Buntat,  viz.  Bintulu  rivers  in  the  Sarawak  territory, 
stones  that  are  found  in  the  bodies  of  These  concretions  are  chiefly  obtained 
animals  or  contained  in  trees,  have  great  from  a  red  monkey  (a  species  of  Seat- 
magic   and  vegetable  virtue.      These  nopithecus),   which   seems   to  be  very 
stones  are  worn  as  charms,  and  are  abundant    in   the  interior   districts  of 
also  scraped,  the  scrapings  being  mixed  Borneo.       A   more   valuable    Guliga, 
with  water  and  given  to  the  sick  as  called    the    '  Guliga    Landak,'   is   ob- 
medicine." — Pubns.    of  the    R.A.S.,  tained  from  the  porcupine,   but  it   is 
S.B.,  No.  3,  p.  26  n.  comparatively     rare.        The     Sepoys 

2  This  idea  recalls  a  similar  super-  stationed  at  Sibu  Fort  in  the  Rejang 
stition   about  what   are  called  in  the  formerly  exported  considerable  numbers 
Straits  Settlements  "  breeding-pearls,"  of  these  calculi  to  Hindustan,  where, 
i.e.  a  kind  of  pearl  which  is  supposed  in  addition  to  their  supposed  efficacy 
to  reproduce  itself  when  kept  in  a  box  as  an  antidote  for  the  poison  of  snakes 
and  fed  with  pulut  rice  for  a  suffici-  and   other   venomous   creatures,   they 
ently  lengthy  period. —  Vide  J.R.A.S.,  appear  to  be  applied,  either  alone  or 
S.B.,  No.    I,  pp.   31-37,  No.  3,  pp.  in  combination  with  other  medicines, 
140-143.  to  the  treatment  of  fevers,   asthmatic 

3  "The    Guliga,    more    commonly  complaints,  general  debility,  etc.     A 
known  as  Bezoar,  forms  a  recognised  few   years   ago,    however,   these    men 



Before  I  leave  this  portion  of  the  subject,  I  may 
mention  that  magic  powers  are  very  generally  ascribed 
to  the  "  celts  "  or  "  stone-age  "  implements  which  are 
frequently  found  in  the  Peninsula,  and  are  called 
thunderbolts  (batu  halilintar).  They  are  not  un- 
frequently  grated  and  mixed  with  water  and  drunk 

ceased  to  send  any  but  the  Guliga 
Landak,  since  their  hakims  had  in- 
formed them  that  the  concretions 
obtained  from  the  monkeys  had  come 
to  be  considered  of  very  doubtful,  if 
any,  value  from  a  medicinal  point  of 
view.  The  usual  test  for  a  good 
Guliga  is  to  place  a  little  chunam  on 
the  hand  and  to  rub  the  Guliga  against 
it,  when,  if  it  be  genuine,  the  lime 
becomes  tinged  with  yellow.  Imita- 
tions are  by  no  means  rare,  and  on  one 
occasion  which  came  to  my  own  know- 
ledge, some  Bakatans  succeeded  in 
deceiving  the  Chinamen,  who  trade  in 
these  articles,  by  carefully  moulding 
some  fine  light  clay  into  the  form  of  a 
Bezoar,  and  then  rubbing  it  well  all  over 
with  a  genuine  one.  The  extreme 
lightness  of  a  real  Guliga  and  the  lime 
test  are,  however,  generally  sufficient 
to  expose  a  counterfeit  Bezoar.  The 
Sepoys  and  Malays  apply  various  im- 
aginary tests.  Thus  they  assert  that 
if  a  true  Guliga  be  clasped  in  the 
closed  fist  the  bitter  taste  of  the  con- 
cretion will  be  plainly  susceptible  to 
the  tongue  when  applied  to  the  back 
of  the  hand,  and  even  above  the  elbow 
if  the  Guliga  be  a  good  '  Landak ' ;  and 
a  Sepoy  once  assured  me  that  having 
accidentally  broken  one  of  the  latter  he 
immediately  was  sensible  of  a  bitter 
taste  in  the  mouth. 

"Accounts  vary  very  much  among 
the  natives  as  to  the  exact  position  in 
which  the  Guligas  are  found :  some 
saying  they  may  occur  in  any  part  of 
the  body,  others  that  they  occur  only 
in  the  stomach  and  intestines,  whilst  I 
have  heard  others  declare  that  they 
have  taken  them  from  the  head  and 
even  the  hand  !  Bezoar  stones  are 
sold  by  weight,  the  gold  scale  being 
used,  and  the  value  varies  according 

to  quality  and  to  the  scarcity  or  abund- 
ance of  the  commodity  at  the  time  of 
sale.  The  ordinary  prices  paid  at 
Rejang  a  few  years  ago  were  from 
$1.50  to  $2  per  amas  for  common 
stones  and  from  $2.50  to  $4  per  amas 
for  Guliga  Landak.  I  have  seen  one 
of  the  latter  which  was  valued  at  $100. 
It  was  about  the  size  of  an  average 
Tangiers  orange,  and  was  perfectly 
spherical.  The  surface,  where  not 
artificially  abraded,  was  smooth,  shin- 
ing, bronze-brown,  studded  with  nume- 
rous irregularly -shaped  fragments  of 
dark  rich  brown  standing  out  slightly 
above  the  general  mass  of  the  calculus. 
These  fragments,  in  size  and  appear- 
ance, bore  a  close  resemblance  to  the 
crystals  in  a  coarse-grained  porphyritic 

"  The  common  monkey-bezoars  vary 
much  in  colour  and  shape.  I  have 
seen  them  of  the  size  of  large  filberts, 
curiously  convoluted  and  cordate  in 
shape,  with  a  smooth,  shining  surface 
of  a  pale  olive-green  hue.  Mr.  A.  R. 
Houghton  once  showed  me  one  which 
was  an  inch  and  a  half  long,  and 
shaped  like  an  Indian  club.  It  was 
of  a  dirty  greenish  colour,  perfectly 
smooth  and  cylindrical,  and  it  had 
become  aggregated  around  a  portion 
of  a  sumpitan  dart,  which  appears  to 
have  penetrated  the  animal's  stomach, 
and  being  broken  off  short  has  sub- 
sequently served  as  the  nucleus  for  the 
formation  of  a  calculus.  The  same 
gentleman  had  in  his  possession  two 
Landak  stones,  one  of  which  bore  a 
close  resemblance  to  a  block  in  shape, 
and  was  of  a  bright  green  colour,  and 
the  second  was  of  a  rich  chocolate 
brown,  and  could  best  be  likened  in 
form  to  a  constable's  staff.  One 
porcupine  stone  which  was  opened  was 



like   the    Bezoar   stones,   but   usually   they   are   kept 
merely  as  a  touch-stone  for  gold. 

(c)   Water 


The  following  description  (by  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell) 
of    the     bathing    ceremony,    as     practised    by    the 

found  to  be  a  mere  shell  full  of  small 
brown  shavings  like  shred  tobacco. 

"  The  part  of  the  island  which  pro- 
duces these  stones  in  greatest  abund- 
ance seems  to  be,  by  a  coincidence  of 
native  reports,  the  district  about  the 
upper  waters  of  the  BaluRgar  (Batang 
Kayan).  The  story  is  that  the  head- 
waters of  this  river  are  cut  off  from 
its  lower  course  by  an  extensive  tract 
of  hills  beneath  which  the  river  dis- 
appears, a  report  by  no  means  unlikely 
if  the  country  be,  as  is  probable,  lime- 
stone. The  people  of  the  district 
have  no  communication  with  the  lower 
course  of  the  river,  and  are  thus  with- 
out any  supply  of  salt.  In  lieu  of  this 
necessity  they  make  use  of  the  waters 
of  certain  springs,  which  must  be 
saline  mineral  springs,  and  which  the 
Kayans  call  '  Sungan.'  These  springs 
are  also  frequented  by  troops  of  the 
red  monkeys  before  mentioned,  and 
the  Bezoars  are  most  constantly  found 
in  the  stomachs  of  these  animals 
through  their  drinking  the  saline  water. 
The  hunters  lie  in  wait  about  such 
springs,  and,  so  runs  the  report,  on 
the  animals  coming  down  to  drink  they 
are  able  to  guess  with  tolerable  cer- 
tainty from  external  signs  which  of  the 
monkeys  will  afford  the  Guliga,  and 
they  forthwith  shoot  such  with  their 
sumpitans.  I  have  this  account,  curi- 
ous in  more  ways  than  one,  from 
geveral  quite  independent  sources.  In 
concluding  these  brief  notes,  I  may 
remark  that  the  wide-spread  idea  of  the 
medicinal  virtue  of  these  concretions 
would  lead  us  to  suppose  that  there 
is  some  foundation  for  their  reputa- 

tion."—J.K.A.  S. ,  S.£.,  No.  4,  pp. 

"The  guliga  in  Siak,  which  is 
considered  to  belong  to  the  larangan 
raja  [royal  property],  is  an  intestinal 
stone  found  in  a  kind  of  porcupine  living 
principally  in  the  upper  reaches  of  the 
Mandau.  The  Sake-is  living  in  this 
region  are  the  only  persons  who  collect 
these  stones,  which  they  deliver  to  the 
Sultan  partly  as  a  revenue,  partly  as 
barang  larangan. 

"  By  right  all  the  guligas  found  by 
them  are  the  Sultan's ;  the  greater 
number,  however,  are  clandestinely 
sold  to  Malay  and  Chinese  traders. 

"  According  to  their  size  they  are 
worth  from  $40  to  $600  a  piece. 

"Their  value,  however,  does  not 
merely  rise  with  their  weight  but,  as 
in  the  case  of  precious  stones,  rises  out 
of  all  proportion  with  the  mere  increase 
in  weight.  A  guliga  weighing  i 
ringgit  (8  mayam)  costs  $600,  whereas 
one  of  the  weight  of  3  mayam  will  only 
be  worth  $100. 

"  ¥  or  guligas,  particularly  large  ones, 
extraordinary  prices  are  sometimes  paid. 
The  Sultan  of  Siak  possesses  one  said 
to  be  valued  at  §900. 

"Natives  maintain  that  they  are  an 
almost  infallible  medicine  in  cases  of 
chest  or  bowel  complaints,  but  their 
principal  value  is  founded  on  their 
reputed  virtue  as  a  powerful  aphro- 
disiac. To  operate  in  this  way  one  is 
worn  on  the  navel  tied  up  in  a  piece  of 
cloth,  or  water  in  which  one  has  been 
soaked  is  drunk." — F.  Kehding  on  Siak 
(Sumatra)  mJ.K.A.S.,  S.B.t  No.  17, 
PP-  153-4- 

278  WA  TER  CHAP. 

Perak  Malays,  may  be  taken  as  typical  of  this 
subject  :— 

;<  Limes  are  used  in  Perak,  as  we  use  soap,  when  a 
Malay  has  resolved  on  having  a  really  good  "scrub." 
They  are  cut  in  two  and  squeezed  (ramas)  in  the  hand. 
In  Penang  a  root  called  sintok  is  usually  preferred 
to  limes.  When  the  body  is  deemed  sufficiently 
cleansed  the  performer,  taking  his  stand  facing  the 
East,  spits  seven  times,  and  then  counts  up  seven 
aloud.  After  the  word  tujoh  (seven)  he  throws  away 
the  remains  of  the  limes  or  sintok  to  the  West,  saying 
aloud,  Pergi-lah  samua  sial  jambalang  deripada  badan 
aku  ka  pusat  tasek  Pawjangi,  'Misfortune  and  spirits 
of  evil  begone  from  my  body  to  the  whirlpool  of  the 
lake  Paujangi ! '  Then  he  throws  (jurus]  a  few 
buckets  of  water  over  himself,  and  the  operation  is 

"  The  lake  Paujangi  is  situated  in  mid-ocean,  and 
its  whirlpool  most  likely  causes  the  tides.  All  the 
waters  of  the  sea  and  rivers  are  finally  received  there. 
It  is  probably  as  eligible  an  abode  for  exorcised 
spirits  as  the  Red  Sea  was  once  considered  to  be 
by  our  forefathers." * 

The  ceremony  just  described  is  evidently  a  form 
of  purification  by  water.  Similar  purificatory  cere- 
monies form  an  integral  part  of  Malay  customs  at 
birth,  adolescence,  marriage,  sickness,  death,  and  in 
fact  at  every  critical  period  of  the  life  of  a  Malay  ; 
but  will  be  most  conveniently  discussed  in  detail 
under  each  of  the  particular  headings  referred  to. 
The  tepong  tawar  ceremony  (for  the  details  of  which 
see  Chapter  III.,  and  which  is  perhaps  the  commonest 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,    No.   9,   p.    24  n.     As   to  Paujangi  (Pauh  Janggi)  vide 
pp.  6-9,  supra. 


of  all  Malay  magic  rites)  would   also  seem  to  have 
originated  from  ideas  of  ceremonial  purification. 

2.    THE    SEA,    RIVERS,    AND    STREAMS 

The  Malays  have  been  from  time  immemorial  a 
sea-faring  race,  and  are  quite  as  superstitious  in  their 
ideas  of  the  sea  as  sailors  in  other  parts  of  the  world. 

As  has  been  already  indicated,1  their  animistic 
notions  include  a  belief  in  Water  Spirits,  both  of  the 
sea  and  of  rivers,  and  occasionally  this  belief  finds 
expression  in  ritual  observances. 

Thus,  for  instance,  it  was  formerly  the  custom  to 
insert  a  number  of  sugar-palm  twigs  (segar  kabong]  into 
the  top  of  the  ship's  mast,  making  the  end  of  it  look 
not  unlike  a  small  birch  of  black  twigs.2 

This  was  intended  to  prevent  the  Water  Spirit 
(Hantu  Ayer)  from  settling  on  the  mast.  His  appear- 
ance when  he  does  settle  is  described  as  resembling 
the  glow  of  fire  flies  or  of  phosphorescence  in  the  sea — 
evidently  a  form  of  St.  Elmo's  fire. 

The  ship  being  a  living  organism,  one  must,  of 
course,  when  all  is  ready,  persuade  it  to  make  a  proper 
start.  To  effect  this  you  go  on  board,  and  sitting 
down  beside  the  well  (petak  ruang\  burn  incense  and 
strew  the  sacrificial  rice,  and  then  tapping  the  inside  of 
the  keelson  {jintekkan  serempii]  and  the  next  plank 
above  it  (apit  lempong),  beg  them  to  adhere  to  each 
other  during  the  voyage,  e.g. : — 

"Peace  be  with  you,   O   'big  MSdang'  and   'low-growing 

Mgdang ! ' 
Be  ye  not  parted  brother  from  brother, 

1   Vide  Chapter  IV.  supra. 
2  For  the  charm  used  at  the  insertion  of  the  twigs,  vide  App.  cxxii. 


I  desire  you  to  speed  me,  to  the  utmost  of  your  power, 

To  such  and  such  a  place  ; 

If  ye  will  not,  ye  shall  be  rebels  against  God,"  etc. 

I  need  hardly  explain,  perhaps,  that  "big  medang" 
and  "low-growing  medang"  are  the  names  of  two 
varieties  of  the  same  tree,  which  are  supposed  in  the 
present  instance  to  have  furnished  the  timber  from 
which  these  different  parts  were  made. 

Then  you  stand  up  in  the  bows  and  call  upon  the 
Sea  Spirits  for  their  assistance  in  pointing  out  shoals, 
snags,  and  rocky  islets.1 

Sometimes  a  talisman  is  manufactured  by  writing 
an  Arabic  text  on  a  leaf  which  is  then  thrown  into 
the  sea. 

So,  too,  it  is  not  unusual  to  see  rocks  in  mid-stream 
near  the  mouths  of  rivers  adorned  with  a  white  cloth 
hanging  from  a  long  stick  or  pole,  which  marks  them 
out  as  "sacred  places,"  and  sometimes  in  rapids  where 
navigation  is  difficult  or  dangerous,  offerings  are  made 
to  the  River  Spirits,  as  the  following  quotation  will 
show  : — 

"We  commenced  at  last  to  slide  down  a  long 
reach  of  troubled  water  perceptibly  out  of  the 
horizontal.  The  raft  buried  itself  under  the  surface, 
leaving  dry  only  our  little  stage,  and  the  whole  fabric 
shook  and  trembled  as  if  it  were  about  to  break  up. 
Yelling  '  Sambut,  sambut'  ('Receive,  receive')  to  the 
spirits  of  the  stream,  whom  Kulup  Mohamed  was 
propitiating  with  small  offerings  of  rice  and  leaves, 
the  panting  boatmen  continued  their  struggles  until 
we  shot  out  once  more  into  smooth  deep  water,  and  all 
danger  was  over."2 

1    Vide  App.  cxxiv.  2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  9,  p.  26. 


The  importance  of  rivers  in  the  Malay  Peninsula, 
and  for  that  matter,  in  Malayan  countries  generally, 
can  hardly  be  overrated.  It  was  by  the  rivers  that 
Malay  immigration,  coming  for  the  most  part,  if  not 
entirely,  from  Sumatra,  entered  the  interior  of  the 
Peninsula,  and  before  the  influx  of  Europeans  had 
superseded  them  by  roads  and  railways  the  rivers 
were  the  sole  means  of  inland  communication.  All 
old  Malay  settlements  are  situated  on  the  banks  of 
rivers  or  streams,  both  on  this  account  and  because 
of  the  necessity  of  having  a  plentiful  supply  of  water 
for  the  purpose  of  irrigating  the  rice-fields,  which 
constitute  the  main  source  of  livelihood  for  the  in- 

Accordingly  the  backbone,  so  to  speak,  of  a  Malay 
district  is  the  river  that  runs  through  it,  and  from 
which  in  most  cases  the  district  takes  its  name  ;  for 
here,  as  elsewhere,  the  river-names  are  generally  older 
than  the  names  of  territorial  divisions.  They  are  often 
unintelligible  and  probably  of  pre-Malayan  origin,  but 
are  sometimes  derived  from  the  Malay  names  of  forest 
trees.  As  a  rule  every  reach  and  point  has  a  name 
known  to  the  local  Malays,  even  though  the  river  may 
run  through  forest  and  swamp  with  only  a  few  villages 
scattered  at  intervals  of  several  miles  along  its  banks. 

Of  river  legends  there  are  not  a  few.  The  follow- 
ing extract  relates  to  one  of  the  largest  rivers  of  the 
Peninsula,  the  river  Perak,  which  gives  its  name  to 
the  largest  and  most  important  of  the  Malay  States  of 
the  West  Coast.  Perak  means  silver,  though  none  is 
mined  in  the  country  ;  and  the  legend  is  a  fair  specimen 
of  the  sort  of  story  which  grows  up  round  an  attempt 
to  account  for  an  otherwise  inexplicable  name : — 

"  On  their  return  down-stream,  the  Raja  and  his 


followers  halted  at  Chigar  Galah,  where  a  small  stream 
runs  into  the  river  Perak.  They  were  struck  with 
astonishment  at  finding  the  water  of  this  stream  as 
white  as  santan  (the  grated  pulp  of  the  cocoa-nut 
mixed  with  water).  Magat  Terawis,  who  was 
despatched  to  the  source  of  the  stream  to  discover 
the  cause  of  this  phenomenon,  found  there  a  large  fish 
of  the  kind  called  haruan  engaged  in  suckling  her 
young  one.  She  had  large  white  breasts  from  which 
milk  issued.1 

"  He  returned  and  told  the  Raja,  who  called  the 
river  'Perak'  ('silver'),  in  allusion  to  its  exceeding 
whiteness.  Then  he  returned  to  Kota  Lama."2 

The  Crocodile 

Of  the  origin  of  the  Crocodile  two  conflicting  stories, 
at  least,  are  told.  One  of  these  was  collected  by  Sir 
William  Maxwell  in  Perak ;  the  other  was  taken 
down  by  me  from  a  Labu  Malay  in  Selangor,  but 
I  have  not  met  with  it  elsewhere ;  a  parallel  version 
of  the  story  quoted  by  Maxwell  being  the  com- 
monest form  of  the  legend  in  Selangor  as  well  as 

Sir  William  Maxwell's  account  runs  as  follows  : — 
"In  the  case  of  the  crocodile,  we  find  an  instance 
of  a  dangerous  animal  being  regarded  by  Malays  as 
possessed   of   mysterious    powers,    which    distinguish 

1  This  recalls  the  account  in  Northern  colour  white  is  an  all-important  feature, 

mythology  of  the  four  rivers  which  are  In  this  legend  we  have  the  white  Semang 

said  to  flow  from  the  teats  of  the  cow  and  the  white  river.  In  others  white 

Audhumla.  animals  and  white  birds  are  introduced. 

In  a  great  many  Malay  myths  the  2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  9,  p.  95. 


him  from  most  of  the  brute  creation,  and  class  him 
with  the  tiger  and  elephant.  Just  as  in  some  parts 
of  India  sacred  crocodiles  are  protected  and  fed  in 
tanks  set  apart  for  them  by  Hindus,  so  in  Malay 
rivers  here  and  there  particular  crocodiles  are  con- 
sidered kramat  (sacred),  and  are  safe  from  molesta- 
tion. On  a  river  in  the  interior  of  Malacca  I  have 
had  my  gun- barrels  knocked  up  when  taking  aim 
at  a  crocodile,  the  Malay  who  did  it  immediately 
falling  on  his  knees  in  the  bottom  of  the  boat  and 
entreating  forgiveness,  on  the  ground  that  the  indi- 
vidual reptile  aimed  at  was  kramat,  and  that  the 
speaker's  family  would  not  be  safe  if  it  were  injured. 
The  source  of  ideas  like  this  lies  far  deeper  in  the 
Malay  mind  than  his  Muhammadanism ;  but  the 
new  creed  has,  in  many  instances,  appropriated  and 
accounted  for  them.  The  connection  of  the  tiger 
with  AH,  the  uncle  of  the  prophet,  has  already  been 
explained.  A  grosser  Muhammadan  fable  has  been 
invented  regarding  the  crocodile. 

"  This  reptile,  say  the  Perak  Malays,  was  first 
created  in  the  following  manner  : — 

"  There  was  once  upon  a  time  a  woman  called  Putri 
Padang  Gerinsing,  whose  petitions  found  great  favour 
and  acceptance  with  the  Almighty. 

"  She  it  was  who  had  the  care  of  Siti  Fatima,  the 
daughter  of  the  Prophet.  One  day  she  took  some 
clay  and  fashioned  it  into  the  likeness  of  what  is  now 
the  crocodile.  The  material  on  which  she  moulded 
the  clay  was  a  sheet  of  upih  (the  sheath  of  the  betel- 
nut  palm).  This  became  the  covering  of  the  croco- 
dile's under-surface.  When  she  attempted  to  make 
the  mass  breathe  it  broke  in  pieces.  This  happened 
twice.  Now  it  chanced  that  the  Tuan  Putri  had  just 


been  eating  sugar-cane,  so  she  arranged  a  number  of 
sugar-cane  joints  to  serve  as  a  backbone,  and  the 
peelings  of  the  rind  she  utilised  as  ribs.  On  its  head 
she  placed  a  sharp  stone,  and  she  made  eyes  out  of 
bits  of  saffron  (kuniet) ;  the  tail  was  made  of  the 
mid-rib  and  leaves  of  a  betel-nut  frond.  She  prayed 
to  God  Almighty  that  the  creature  might  have  life, 
and  it  at  once  commenced  to  breathe  and  move. 
For  a  long  time  it  was  a  plaything  of  the  Prophet's 
daughter,  Siti  Fatima ;  but  it  at  length  became 
treacherous  and  faithless  to  Tuan  Putri  Padang 
Gerinsing,  who  had  grown  old  and  feeble.  Then 
Fatima  cursed  it,  saying,  '  Thou  shalt  be  the  croco- 
dile of  the  sea,  no  enjoyment  shall  be  thine,  and  thou 
shalt  not  know  lust  or  desire.'  She  then  deprived 
it  of  its  teeth  and  tongue,  and  drove  nails  into  its 
jaws  to  close  them.  It  is  these  nails  which  serve 
the  crocodile  as  teeth  to  this  day.  Malay  Pawangs 
in  Perak  observe  the  following  methods  of  proceeding 
when  it  is  desired  to  hook  a  crocodile  : — To  commence 
with,  a  white  fowl  must  be  slain  in  the  orthodox  way, 
by  cutting  its  throat,  and  some  of  its  blood  must  be 
rubbed  on  the  line  (usually  formed  of  rattan)  to 
which  the  fowl  itself  is  attached  as  bait.  The  dying 
struggles  of  the  fowl  in  the  water  are  closely  watched, 
and  conclusions  are  drawn  from  them  as  to  the  prob- 
able behaviour  of  the  crocodile  when  hooked.  If 
the  fowl  goes  to  a  considerable  distance  the  crocodile 
will  most  likely  endeavour  to  make  off;  but  it  will 
be  otherwise  if  the  fowl  moves  a  little  way  only  up 
and  down  or  across  the  stream. 

"  When  the  line  is  set  the  following  spell  must  be 
repeated  :  '  Aur  Dang  sari  kamala  sari,  sambut  kirim 
Tuan  Putri  Padang  Gerinsing ;  tidak  di-sambut  mata 


angkau  chabut '  (O  Dangsari,  lotus  -  flower,  receive 
what  is  sent  thee  by  the  Lady  Princess  Padang 
Gerinsing ;  if  thou  receivest  it  not,  may  thy  eyes  be 
torn  out ').  As  the  bait  is  thrown  into  the  water  the 
operator  must  blow  on  it  three  times,  stroke  it  three 
times,  and  thrice  repeat  the  following  sentence,  with 
his  teeth  closed  and  without  drawing  breath  :  '  Kun 
kata  Allah  sapaya  kun  kata  Muhammad  tab  paku? 
('Kun  saith  God,  so  kun  saith  Muhammad;  nail  be 
fixed.')  Other  formulas  are  used  during  other  stages 
of  the  proceedings." 

The  rarer  story,  to  which  allusion  has  been  made, 
was  the  following  : — 

"  There  was  a  woman  who  had  a  child  which  had 
just  learnt  to  sit  up  (tahu  dudok},  and  to  which  she 
gave  the  name  of 'Sarilang.'  One  day  she  took  the 
child  to  the  river-side  in  order  to  bathe  it,  but  during 
the  latter  operation  it  slipped  from  her  grasp  and  fell 
into  the  river.  The  mother  shrieked  and  wept,  but  as 
she  did  not  know  how  to  dive  she  had  to  return  home 
without  her  child.  That  night  she  dreamed  a  dream, 
in  which  her  child  appeared  and  said,  '  Weep  no  more, 
mother,  I  have  turned  into  a  crocodile,  and  am  now 
called  'Grandsire  Sarilang'  ('Toh  Sarilang):  if  you 
would  meet  me,  come  to-morrow  to  the  spot  where 
you  lost  me.'  Next  morning,  therefore,  the  mother 
repaired  to  the  river  and  called  upon  the  name  of  her 
child,  whereupon  her  child  rose  to  the  surface,  and  she 
saw  that  from  the  waist  downwards  he  had  already 
turned  into  a  crocodile,  though  he  was  still  human 
down  to  the  waist.  Now  the  child  said,  '  Come  back 
again  after  fourteen  days,  and  remember  to  bring  an 
egg  and  a  plantain  (banana).'  She  therefore  went 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  pp.  24-26. 


again  at  the  time  appointed,  and  having  called  upon 
him  by  his  new  name  ('Toh  Sarilang),  he  again  came 
to  the  surface,  when  she  saw  that  from  the  waist  up- 
wards he  had  also  now  turned  into  a  crocodile.  So 
she  gave  him  the  egg  and  the  plantain,  and  he  devoured 
them,  and  when  he  had  done  so  he  said,  '  Whenever 
the  crocodiles  get  ferocious  (ganas],  and  commence  to 
attack  human  beings,  take  a  plantain,  an  egg,  and  a 
handful  of  parched  rice,  and  after  scattering  the  rice 
on  the  river,  leave  the  egg  and  the  plantain  on  the 
bank,  calling  upon  my  name  ('Toh  Sarilang) 1  as  you  do 
so,  and  their  ferocity  will  immediately  cease. "'' 

The  notes  on  crocodile  folklore  which  will  now  be 
given  were  reprinted  in  the  Selangor  Journal  from  the 
"  Perak  Museum  Notes  "  of  Mr.  Wray. 

"When  the  eggs  of  a  crocodile  are  hatching  out, 
the  mother  watches  ;  the  little  ones  that  take  to  their 
native  element  she  does  not  molest,  but  she  eats  up 
all  those  which  run  away  from  the  water,  but  should 
any  escape  her  and  get  away  on  to  the  land  they  will 
change  into  tigers.  Some,  of  these  reptiles  are  said  to 
have  tongues,  and  when  possessed  of  that  organ  they 
are  very  much  more  vicious  and  dangerous  than  the 
ordinarily  formed  ones.  When  a  crocodile  enters  a 
river  it  swallows  a  pebble,  so  that  on  opening  the 
stomach  of  one  it  is  only  necessary  to  count  the  stones 
in  it  to  tell  how  many  rivers  it  has  been  into  during  its 
life.  The  Malays  call  these  stones  kira-kira  did?  on 
this  account.  The  Indians  on  the  banks  of  the  Orinoco, 
on  the  other  hand,  assert  that  the  alligator  swallows 
stones  to  add  weight  to  its  body  to  aid  it  in  diving  and 

1  The  most  usual  name  of  the  croco-       Sambu  Agai,  or,  as  it  is  also  called, 
dile-spirit,    as    given    in    such  charms       Jambu  Rakai. 
as   I  have  succeeded  in  collecting,  is  2  Kira-kira  means  "accounts." 


dragging  its  prey  under  water.  Crocodiles  inhabiting 
a  river  are  said  to  resent  the  intrusion  of  strangers 
from  other  waters,  and  fights  often  take  place  in  con- 
sequence. According  to  the  Malays  they  are  gifted 
with  two  pairs  of  eyes.  The  upper  ones  they  use 
when  above  water,  and  the  under  pair  when  beneath 
the  surface.  This  latter  pair  is  situated  half-way  be- 
tween the  muzzle  and  the  angle  of  the  mouth,  on  the 
under  surface  of  the  lower  jaw.  These  are  in  reality 
not  eyes,  but  inward  folds  of  skin  connected  by  a  duct 
with  a  scent  gland,  which  secretes  an  unctuous  sub- 
stance of  a  dark  gray  colour,  with  a  strong  musky 
odour.  Medicinal  properties  are  attributed  to  the 
flesh  of  the  males,  which  are  believed  to  be  of  very 
rare  occurrence,  and  to  be  quite  unable  to  leave  the 
water  by  reason  of  their  peculiar  conformation.  The 
fact  is  that  the  sexes  are  almost  undistinguishable, 
except  on  dissection,  and  therefore  the  natives  class  all 
that  are  caught  as  females.  While  on  this  subject,  it 
may  be  worth  mentioning  that  at  Port  Weld  there 
used  to  be  a  tame  crocodile  which  would  come  when 
called.  The  Malays  fed  it  regularly,  and  said  it  was 
not  vicious,  and  would  not  do  any  harm.  It  was 
repeatedly  seen  by  the  yearly  visitants  to  Port  Weld, 
or  Sapetang,  as  the  place  was  then  called,  and  was  a 
fine  big  animal,  with  a  bunch  of  seaweed  growing  on 
its  head.  Some  one  had  it  called,  and  then  fired  at  the 
poor  thing  ;  whether  it  was  wounded  or  only  frightened 
is  uncertain,  but  it  never  came  again." * 

The  following  notes  upon  the  same  subject  were 
collected  by  me  in  Selangor  :— 

The  female  crocodile  commonly  builds  her  nest, 
with  or  without  the  aid  of  the  male,  among  the  thorny 

1  Selangor  Journal,  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  pp.  93,  94. 


clumps  of  fempiei  (or  dempiei}  trees  just  above 
high-water  mark,  using  the  fallen  leaves  to  form  the 
nest,  and  breaking  up  the  twigs  with  her  mouth.  The 
season  for  laying  is  said,  in  the  north  of  the  Peninsula, 
to  coincide  with  the  time  "when  the  rice-stalks  swell 
with  the  grain,"  i.e.  the  end  of  the  wet  season. 

The  most  prolific  species  of  crocodile  is  reputed 
to  be  the  buaya  lubok,  or  Bight  crocodile  (also  called 
buaya  rawang,  or  Marsh  crocodile),  which  lays  as 
many  as  fifty  or  sixty  eggs  in  a  single  nest.  Other 
varieties,  I  may  add,  are  the  buaya  tembaga  (Copper 
crocodile),  the  buaya  katak  (Dwarf  crocodile),  which 
is,  as  its  name  implies,  "short  and  stout,"  and  the 
buaya  hitam  or  besi  (Black  or  Iron  crocodile),  which  is 
reported  to  attain  a  larger  size  than  any  other  variety. 
This  latter  kind  is  often  moss-grown,  and  is  hence 
called  buaya  berlumut  (Mossy  crocodile).  The  largest 
specimen  of  this  variety  of  which  I  have  had  any 
reliable  account  is  one  which  measured  "  four  fathoms, 
less  one  hasta"  (about  23  feet),  and  which  was  caught 
in  the  time  of  Sultan  Mahmat  at  Sungei  Sembilang, 
near  Kuala  Selangor,  by  one  Nakhoda  Kutib. 

The  buaya  jo  long-jo  long,  which  has  attracted 
attention  owing  to  its  reputed  identification  with  the 
gavial  of  Indian  waters,  and  which  is  therefore  no 
true  crocodile,  is  pointedly  described  by  Malays  as 
separating  itself  from  the  other  species. 

Finally,  there  is  the  buaya  gulong  tenun  (the 
"  Crocodile  that  Rolls  up  the  Weft "  ?),  which  is  not, 
however,  the  name  of  a  separate  variety,  but  is  the 
name  applied  to  the  Young  Person  or  New  Woman  of 
the  world  of  crocodile-folk — the  aggressive  female  who 
"  snaps  "  at  everything  and  everybody  for  the  mere 
glory  of  the  snap ! ' 


"  After  hatching,"  says  Mr.  Wray,  "  the  mother 
watches,  and  .  .  .  eats  up  all  those  which  run  away 
from  the  water,  but  should  any  escape  her  and  get 
away  on  to  the  land  they  will  turn  into  tigers." 
There  is  perhaps  more  point  in  the  Selangor  tradition, 
according  to  which  the  little  runaways  turn,  not  into 
tigers,  but  into  "iguanas"  (Monitor  lizards). 

As  regards  the  want  of  a  tongue,  which  is  supposed 
to  be  common  to  all  crocodiles,  it  is  said  they  were  so 
created  by  design,  in  order  that  they  might  not  acquire 
too  pronounced  a  "  taste "  for  human  flesh.  Hence 
the  proverb  which  declares  that  no  carrion  is  too  bad 
for  them  to  welcome  :  "  Buaya  mana  tahu  menolak 
bangkei?"  ("When  will  crocodiles  refuse  corpses?")1 

After  the  outbreak  of  ferocity  (ganas)  among  the 
crocodiles  in  the  Klang  River  last  year,  some  account 
of  the  way  in  which  the  crocodile  is  here  said  to  capture 
and  destroy  his  human  victims  may  prove  of  interest. 

Every  crocodile  has,  according  to  the  Selangor 
Malay,  three  sets  of  fangs,  which  are  named  as  follows  : 
(i)  si  hampa  day  a*  (two  above  and  two  below),  at 
the  tip  of  the  jaws  ;  (2)  entah-entah  (two  in  the  upper 
and  two  in  the  lower  jaw),  half-way  up  ;  (3)  charik 
kapan  (two  in  the  upper  and  two  in  the  lower  jaw), 
near  the  socket  of  the  jaws. 

The  first  may  be  translated  by  "  Exhaust  your 
devices  "  ;  the  second  by  "  Yes  or  no  "  ;  and  the  third 
by  "  Tear  the  shroud,"  the  latter  being  a  reference  to 
the  selvage  which,  among  the  Malays,  is  torn  off  the 

1  The  shortness   of  the   crocodile's  sometimes     called     kail    sS/uang,    or 
tongue,  which  is  a  mere  stump  of  a  "  seluang  "  hook,  or  hook  for  catching 
tongue,  has  probably  given  rise  to  this  the  sMuang,  a  small  fish  resembling  the 
idea.  sardine. — Vide  H.  C.  C.  in  N.  and  Q. 

2  Also     sometimes     called     "  Apa  No.  4,  sec.  95,  issued  with  No.  17  of 
daya,"  lit.  "  What  device  ?  "  or  "  What  the/.^.^.-S1.,  S.B. 

resource?"     The  front  teeth  are  also 



shroud  and  afterwards  used  for  tying  it  up  when  the 
corpse  has  been  wrapped  in  it. 

If  a  man  is  caught  by  the  "  Exhausters  of  all 
Resources,"  he  has  a  fair  chance  of  escape;  if  caught 
by  the  "Debateable"  teeth  his  escape  is  decidedly 
problematical ;  but  if  caught  by  the  "  Tearers  of  the 
Shroud,"  he  is  to  all  intents  and  purposes  a  dead 
man.  Whenever  it  effects  a  capture  the  crocodile 
carries  its  victim  at  once  below  the  surface,  and  either 
tries  to  smother  him  in  the  soft,  thick  mud  of  the  man- 
grove swamp,  or  pushes  him  under  a  snag  or  projecting 
root,  with  the  object  of  letting  him  drown,  while  it 
retires  to  watch  him  from  a  short  distance.  After 
what  it  considers  a  sufficient  interval  to  effect  its  pur- 
pose, the  crocodile  seizes  the  body  of  the  drowned  man 
and  rises  to  the  surface,  when  it  "  calls  upon  the  Sun, 
Moon,  and  Stars  to  bear  witness  "  that  it  was  not  guilty 
of  the  homicide — 

"  Bukan  aku  membunoh  angkau, 
Ayer  yang  membunoh  angkau" 

Which,  being  translated,  means — 

"  It  was  not  I  who  killed  you, 
It  was  water  which  killed  you."1 

After  thrice  repeating  this  strange  performance, 
the  crocodile  again  dives  and  proceeds  to  prepare  the 
corpse  for  its  prospective  banquet.  Embracing  the 
corpse  with  its  "arms,"  and  curving  the  tip  of  its 

1  The  question  of  the  mental  attri-  same  time,  it  is  credited   with  strong 

butes  ascribed  to  the  crocodile  is  one  common  sense  (since  it  is    known    to 

of  great  interest,  as  it  is  credited  by  "laugh"   at   those   misguided  mortals 

Malays  with  a  human   origin.      It  is  "  who  pole  a  boat  down  stream"  no  less 

not    alleged    to    shed    tears   over    his  than  the  tiger  which  "  laughs "  at  those 

victim ;    but,    as    the    above    account  who  "  carry  a  torch  on  a  moonlight 

shows,  it   is    far    from    insensible    to  night  "),  and  also  has  a  strict  regard  for 

the  enormity  of  manslaughter.     At  the  honesty.     ( Vide  infra. ) 


powerful  tail  under  its  own  belly  (until  the  tail  is  nearly 
bent  double),  it  contrives  to  break  the  backbone  of  the 
victim,  and  then  picking  up  the  body  once  more  with 
its  teeth,  dashes  it  violently  against  a  trunk  or  root  in 
orcler  to  break  the  long  bones  of  the  limbs.  When 
the  bones  are  thus  so  broken  as  to  offer  no  obstruction, 
it  swallows  the  body  whole — thus  affording  a  remark- 
able parallel  to  the  boa  in  its  method  of  devouring  its 
prey,  and  recalling  Darwinian  ideas  of  their  cousin- 
hood.  Miraculous  escapes  have,  however,  occasionally 
occurred.  Thus  Lebai  'Ali  was  caught  by  a  crocodile 
at  Batu  Burok  (Kuala  Selangor),  one  evening  as  the 
tide  was  ebbing,  and  the  crocodile,  after  smothering 
him  effectually  (as  it  thought)  in  the  thick  mud,  retired 
to  await  the  end.  Insensibly,  however,  it  floated 
farther  and  farther  off  with  the  falling  tide,  and  Lebai 
'Ali,  seeing  his  opportunity,  made  a  bold  and  successful 
dash  for  freedom. 

A  similar  case  was  that  of  Si  Ka',  who  was  pushed 
under  a  bamboo  root  on  the  river  bank  by  the  croco- 
dile which  caught  him,  and  who,  after  waiting  till  his 
formidable  enemy  had  floated  a  little  farther  off  than 
usual,  drew  himself  up  by  an  overhanging  stem  and 
swarmed  up  it.  At  the  same  moment  the  crocodile 
made  a  rush,  and  actually  caught  him  by  the  great  toe, 
which  latter,  however,  he  willingly  surrendered  to  his 
enemy  as  the  price  of  his  liberty. 

A  yet  more  marvellous  escape,  was  that  of 
the  youth  belonging  to  the  Government  launch 
at  Klang,  who  escaped,  it  is  related,  by  the  time- 
honoured  expedient  of  putting  his  thumbs  into  the 
crocodile's  eyes.  In  connection  with  this  latter  exploit, 
by  the  way,  Malay  authorities  assert  that  the  crocodile's 
eyes  protrude  from  their  sockets  on  stalks  (like  those 


of  a  crab)  so  long  as  he  stays  under  water,  the  stalks 
being  "as  long  as  the  forefinger,"  so  that  it  is  quite 
an  easy  matter  to  catch  hold  of  these  living 

For  the  rest,  crocodiles  are  said  by  the  Malays  to 
have  a  sort  of  false  stomach  divided  into  several 
pouches  or  sacs,  one  sac  being  for  the  stones  which 
they  swallow,  and  another  for  the  clothes  and  accoutre- 
ments of  their  human  victims,  these  pouches  being  in 
addition  to  their  real  stomach  (in  which  the  remains  of 
monkeys,  wild  pig,  mouse-deer,  and  other  small  animals 
are  found),  and,  in  the  case  of  female  specimens,  the 
ovary.  The  second  pair  of  eyes  in  the  neck  which, 
Mr.  Wray  says,  they  are  supposed  to  use  when  below 
the  surface,  are  in  Selangor  supposed  to  be  used  at 
night,  whence  they  are  called  mata  malam,  or  night- 
eyes,  as  opposed  to  their  real  eyes  which  they  are 
supposed  to  use  only  by  day. 

As  regards  the  stones,  which  crocodiles  undoubtedly 
swallow,  they  are  sometimes  supposed  to  enable  each 
male  crocodile  to  keep  an  account  of  the  number  of 
rivers  which  it  has  entered,  of  the  number  of  bights  it 
has  lived  in,  or  even  of  the  number  of  its  human 
victims.  The  noise  which  crocodiles  make  when  fight- 
ing resembles  a  loud  roar  or  bellow,  and  the  Malays 
apply  the  same  word  menguak  to  the  bellow  of  the 
crocodile  as  well  as  to  that  of  the  buffalo. 

The  wrath  of  the  crocodile-folk  is  provoked  by 
those  who  wish  to  shoot  them,  in  various  ways,  of 
which,  perhaps,  the  commonest  is  to  dabble  a  sarong, 
or  (as  is  said  to  be  more  effectual)  a  woman's  mosquito- 
curtain,  in  the  water  of  the  river  where  they  live.  So 
also  to  keep  two  sets  of  weights  and  measures  (one 
for  buying  and  another  for  selling,  as  is  sometimes 


done  by  the  Chinese),  is  said  to  be  a  certain  means  of 
provoking  their  indignation. 

The  crocodile-wizard  is  sometimes  credited  with 
the  power  of  calling  the  crocodile-folk  together,  and 
of  discovering  a  man-eater  among  them,  and  an  eye- 
witness lately  described  to  me  the  scene  on  one  such 
occasion.  A  Malay  had  been  carried  off  and  devoured 
by  a  crocodile  at  Larut,  and  a  Batu  Bara  man,  who 
went  by  the  sobriquet  of  Nakhoda  Hassan,  undertook 
to  discover  the  culprit.  Sprinkling  some  of  the  usual 
sacrificial  rice -paste  (tepong  tawar)  and  "saffron" 
rice  upon  the  surface  of  the  river,  he  called  out  in  loud 
tones  to  the  various  tribes  of  crocodiles  in  the  river, 
and  summoned  them  to  appear  on  the  surface.  My 
informant  declares  that  not  less  than  eight  or  ten 
crocodiles  actually  appeared,  whereupon  the  Pawang 
commanded  them  all  to  return  to  the  bottom  with  the 
exception  of  the  one  which  was  guilty.  In  a  few 
moments  only  one  crocodile  remained  on  the  surface, 
and  this  one,  on  being  forthwith  killed  and  cut  open, 
was  found  to  contain  the  garments  of  the  unfortunate 
man  who  had  been  captured  by  it.  Similar  stories  of 
the  prowess  of  crocodile  charmers  are  told  by  the 

I  shall  now  proceed  to  describe  the  methods  and 
ceremonies  used  for  the  catching  of  crocodiles.  The 
following  is  a  description  by  Mr.  J.  H.  M.  Robson,  of 
Selangor,  of  the  most  usual  method,  at  all  events  in 
Selangor,  but  it  would  appear  from  remarks  upon 
the  subject  in  Dr.  Denys'  work,  that  live  as  well 
as  dead  bait  is  commonly  used  :— 

'•  "  A  small  piece  of  hard  wood,  about  6  in.  or  8  in. 
long,   and  about   three-quarters  of  an   inch   thick,   is 

1  Rewritten  from  Sel.  Journ.  vol.  iii.  No.  19,  pp.  309-312. 


sharpened  at  both  ends,  and  to  the  middle  of  this 
the  end  of  a  yard  of  twine  is  firmly  fastened,  the 
twine  having  about  a  dozen  strands  just  held  together 
by  say  a  couple  of  knots,  so  as  to  prevent  the  crocodile 
from  biting  it  through,  as  the  strands  simply  get 
between  his  teeth ;  to  the  other  end  of  this  twine  is 
fastened  a  single  uncut  rattan,  at  least  20  feet  long, 
which  can  be  only  a  quarter  of  an  inch  in  diameter, 
but  may  with  advantage  be  a  little  bigger;  a  small 
stick  affixed  to  the  end  of  the  line,  to  act  as  a  visible 
float,  completes  this  part  of  the  gear.  Probably  a 
crocodile  will  eat  anything,  but  he  is  certainly  partial 
to  chicken — at  least  that  bait  is  always  successful  in 
the  Sepang  river — so,  having  killed  some  sort  of  fowl, 
the  body  is  cut  right  through  the  breast  lengthways 
from  head  to  tail,  and  the  small  piece  of  pointed  hard 
wood  inserted,  and  the  bird  bound  up  again  with  string. 
Next,  two  pieces  of  light  wood  are  nailed  together, 
forming  a  small  floating  platform  about  a  foot  square, 
and  on  this  the  fowl  is  placed,  raised  on  miniature 
trestles.  The  small  platform  thus  furnished  is  placed 
in  a  likely  spot  near  the  bank,  and  the  rattan  line  is 
hitched  over  a  small  branch  or  a  stake,  so  that  the 
bait  platform  may  not  be  carried  away  by  the  tide. 
By  the  next  morning  the  rattan  line,  bait  and  platform 
may  all  have  disappeared,  which  probably  means  that 
the  crocodile,  having  swallowed  the  fowl,  has  gone  off 
with  the  rattan  in  tow,  a  tug  being  sufficient  to  set  it 
free,  whilst  the  platform,  thus  released,  has  drifted 
away.  A  crocodile  will  try  the  aggressive  sometimes, 
so,  when  going  in  pursuit,  it  is  better  to  have  a  boat 
than  a  sampan?  but  Malay  paddles  are  the  most 
convenient  in  either  case.  It  is  also  advisable  to  have 

1  A  native-built  canoe  hollowed  out  of  a  tree-trunk  is  no  doubt  referred  to. 


a  second  man  with  a  rifle.  The  crocodile  has  probably 
a  favourite  place  up-stream,  so  the  boatmen  paddle  up 
on  the  look-out  for  the  rattan  (which  always  floats), 
finding  it  at  length  close  to  the  mangrove  roots 
bordering  on  the  river,  perhaps.  The  boat-hook  picks 
up  the  floating-stick  end  of  the  line,  and,  with  a  couple 
of  boatmen  on  to  this  and  a  crocodile  at  the  other  end, 
with  the  small  pointed  hard  wood  stick  across  his 
throat,  the  excitement  begins.  The  crocodile  plunges 
about  amidst  the  mangrove  roots  under  the  water,  and 
then  makes  a  rush  ;  the  rattan  is  paid  out  again  and 
the  boat  follows ;  then  he  rushes  under  the  boat, 
perhaps  at  the  boat,  whilst  the  line  is  steadily  pulled 
in.  This  sort  of  thing  may  last  some  time,  but  the 
only  thing  to  be  afraid  of  is  the  rattan's  getting  twisted 
round  a  bakau^  root  under  water,  which  might 
prevent  a  capture ;  otherwise,  after  a  good  deal  of 
playing  of  a  rather  violent  nature,  the  continual 
pulling  of  the  rattan-holders  in  the  boat,  or  his  own 
aggressiveness,  induces  him  to  show  his  head  above 
the  surface,  whereat  the  rifles  crack,  and  the  crocodile 
dies,  though  often  not  till  four  or  five  bullets  have  been 
put  into  different  parts  of  his  body."2 

I  will  now  proceed  to  describe  the  religious 
ceremonies  which  accompany  this  performance. 

The  following  outline  of  the  ceremonies  used  in 
catching  a  crocodile  who  is  known  to  be  a  man-eater, 
was  taken  down  by  me  from  the  mouth  of  a  noted 
crocodile- wizard  on  the  Langat  river.  First,  you 
take  strips  of  bark  of  a  river-side  bush  or  tree  called 
baru-baru  (which  must  be  cut  down  at  a  single 
stroke),  and  fasten  them  together  at  each  end  only, 

1  Mangrove,    of     various     species,  *  Sel.  Journ.   vol.   i.    No.   22,   pp. 

chiefly  Rhizophorca,  3  50-3  5 1 . 


so  that  they  form  a  rope  with  divided  (unravelled) 
strands.  This  will  form  that  part  of  your  tackle  which 
corresponds  to  the  gut  (perambuf)  of  a  fishing  line, 
(i.e.  the  part  just  above  the  hook),  and  the  advantage 
of  it  is  that  the  loose  strands  get  between  the 
crocodile's  teeth,  and  prevent  it  from  being  bitten 
through  as  a  rope  would  certainly  be. 

Next,  you  take  a  piece  of  the  bottommost  rung  of 
a  house-ladder  (anak  tangga  bongsu),  and  sharpen  it 
to  a  point  at  both  ends,  so  as  to  form  a  cross-piece 
(palang)  such  as  will  be  likely  to  stick  in  the  crocodile's 
throat.  Having  fastened  one  end  of  the  "gut"  round 
the  middle  of  the  cross-piece,  and  the  other  to  your 
rattan  line,  the  length  of  which  may  be  from  ten  to  fifteen 
fathoms  or  so,  according  to  the  depth  of  the  river  at 
the  spot  where  the  crocodile  is  supposed  to  lie,  you 
must  next  cut  down  a  young  tree  to  serve  as  the  pole 
(chanckang)  to  which  the  floating  platform  and  bait 
may  be  subsequently  attached.  This  pole  may  be  of 
any  kind  of  wood  except  bamboo ;  so  when  you  have 
found  a  suitable  tree,  take  hold  of  it  with  the  left  hand 
and  chop  at  it  thrice  with  the  right,  saying  a  charm 
as  you  do  so — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Prophet  Tetap,  in  whose  charge  is  the 


Peace  be  with  you,  O  Prophet  Noah,  Planter  of  Trees, 
I  petition  for  this  tree  to  serve  as  a  mooring-post  for  my 

crocodile-trap ; 

If  it  is  to  kill  him  (the  crocodile),  do  you  fall  supine, 
If  it  is  not  to  kill  him,  do  you  fall  prone."1 

These  last  two  lines  refer  to  the  omens  which  are 
taken  from  the  way  the  tree  falls ;  the  "  supine " 
position  being  that  of  a  crocodile  which  has  "turned 

1    Vide  App.  cxxviii. 


turtle,"  whereas  the  prone  position  would  be  its  natural 
attitude  as  it  swims. 

Then  start  making  the  floating  platform  or  raft 
(rakif)  by  chopping  a  plantain  stem  (any  kind  will  do) 
into  three  lengths  (di-ttratkan  tigd),  and  then  skewering 
these  lengths  together  at  their  ends  so  as  to  form  a 

Into  the  apex  of  this  triangle  firmly  plant  the  lower 
end  of  a  strong  and  springy  rod,  making  the  upper 
end  curve  over  slightly  in  a  forward  direction  (di-pas- 
ang-nya  kayu  melentor  ka-atas)  and  securing  it  in 
its  position  by  two  lashings,  which  are  carried  down 
from  its  tip  and  fastened  to  the  two  front  corners  of 
the  triangle.  Then  utter  the  charm  and  plant  the 
pole  by  the  river-side  in  the  spot  you  have  selected, 
holding  your  breath  and  making  believe  that  you 
are  King  Solomon  (di-sifatkan  kita  Raja  Suleiman]  as 
it  sinks  into  the  ground.  The  charm  consists  of 
these  lines : — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Prophet  Khailir, 
In  whose  charge  is  the  water; 
Peace  be  with  you,  O  Prophet  T£tap, 
In  whose  charge  is  the  earth ; 
Pardon,  King  of  the  Sea,  Deity  of  Mid-currents, 
I  ask  only  for  the  '  guilty '  (crocodiles), 
The  innocent  do  you  assist  me  to  let  go, 
And  drive  out  only  the  guilty  which  devoured  So-and-so. 
If  you  do  not  do  so,  you  shall  die,"  etc. 

Now  prepare  the  bait.  To  do  this  you  must  kill  a 
fowl  (in  the  orthodox  way),  cut  it  partly  open  and 
insert  the  ladder- rung  into  its  body,  wrapping  the 
flesh  and  feathers  round  it,  and  binding  the  whole 
>ird  seven  times  round  and  seven  times  across  with 
piece  of  rattan,  not  forgetting,  however,  to  observe 
silence  and  hold  your  breath  as  you  pass  the  first 


rattan  lashing  round  the  fowl's  carcase.  When  you 
have  finished  binding  it  up  as  directed,  chew  some 
betel-leaf  and  eject  (semborkan)  the  chewed  leaf  upon 
the  fowl's  head,  repeating  the  appropriate  charm.1 
Then  hook  the  bait  (sangkutkan  umpan)  on  to  the 
tip  of  the  bent  rod  (on  no  account  tie  it  on,  as  it 
must  be  left  free  for  the  crocodile  to  swallow),  and 
having  prepared  the  wonted  accessories  —  including 
three  chews  of  betel  -  leaf,  a  richek  of  ginger  (halia 
bara  sa-rickek\  and  seven  white  pepper-corns  (lada 
sulah  tujoh  biji} — breathe  (jampikan)  upon  the  betel- 
leaf,  and  at  the  end  of  the  invocation  eject  the 
chewed  betel-leaf  upon  the  head  of  the  cock  intended 
for  the  bait. 

The  charm  to  be  recited  (which  makes  allusion 
to  the  fable  concerning  the  supposed  origin  of  the 
crocodile)  runs  as  follows  : — 

"  Follow  in  procession,  follow  in  succession, 
The  '  Assembly-flower '  begins  to  unfold  its  petals ; 
Come  in  procession,  come  in  succession, 
King  Solomon's  self  comes  to  summon  you. 
Ho,  Si  Jambu  Rakai,  I  know  your  origin ; 
Sugar-cane  knots  forty-four  were  your  bones, 
Of  clay  was  formed  your  body ; 
Rootlets  of  the  areca-palm  were  your  arteries, 
Liquid  sugar  made  your  blood, 
A  rotten  mat  your  skin, 
And  a  mid-rib  of  the  thatch-palm  your  tail, 
Prickles  of  the  pandanus  made  your  dorsal  ridge, 
And  pointed  berembang  suckers  your  teeth.2 
If  you  splash  with  your  tail  it  shall  break  in  two, 
If  you  strike  downwards  with  your  snout  it  shall  break  in  two, 

1  FzafeApp.  cxxx.  central  shoot  or  cabbage  of  a  cocoa-nut 

2  This     and     the     preceding     lines  (umbi  niyor),  its  blood  of  saffron,  and 
clearly  refer  to  the  fable  quoted  by  Sir  its   eyes    from  the    star   of  the   east ; 
W.  E.  Maxwell.    There  are,  however,  another  asserting  that  its  dorsal  ridge 
many  differences  in  minor  details,  one  was    manufactured    (by   Siti   Fatimah) 
version  asserting  that  the  head  of  the  from  the  eaves  of  the  thatch. 

first    crocodile    was    made    from    the 


If  you  crunch  with  your  teeth  they  shall  all  be  broken. 

Lo,  Si  Jambu  Rakai,  I  bind  (this  fowl)  with  the  sevenfold  binding, 

And  enwrap  it  with  the  sevenfold  wrapping 

Which  you  shall  never  loosen  or  undo. 

Turn  it  over  in  your  mouth  before  you  swallow  it 

O,  Si   Jambu   Rakai,  accept  this  present  from   Her  Highness 

Princess  Rundok,  from  Java  : l 
If  you  refuse  to  accept  it, 
Within  two  days  or  three 

You  shall  be  ....  choked  to  death  with  blood, 
Choked  to  death  by  Her  Highness  Princess  Rundok,  from  Java. 
But  if  you  accept  it, 

A  reach  up-stream  or  a  reach  down-stream,  there  do  you  await  me ; 
It  is  not  my  Word,  it  is  King  Solomon's  Word ; 
If  you  are  carried  down-stream  see  that  you  incline  up-stream, 
If  you  are  carried  up-stream  see  that  you  incline  down-stream, 
By  virtue  of  the  Saying  of  King  Solomon,  '  There  is  no  god  but 

God,' "  etc. 

Then  take  a  canoe  paddle  (to  symbolise  the  crocodile's 
tail)  and  some  strong  thread,  fasten  one  end  of  the 
thread  to  the  front  of  the  floating  platform,  and  the 
other  end  to  the  bow  of  your  boat,  back  water 
till  it  grows  taut,  and  strike  the  surface  of  the  water 
thrice  with  the  aforesaid  "  mock  "  crocodile's  tail.  If 
the  first  time  you  strike  it  the  sound  is  clearest  (terek 
bunyi)  it  is  an  omen  that  the  crocodile  will  swallow 
the  bait  the  first  day ;  if  the  second  time,  it  will  be 
the  second  day  when  he  does  so ;  if  the  third  time, 
it  will  be  the  third  day.  But  every  time  you  strike 
the  water  you  must  say  to  yourself,  "  From  Fatimah 
was  your  origin  "  (Mani  Fatimah  asal  'kau  jadi),  in 
order  to  make  the  crocodile  bold.  After  striking  the 
water  you  may  go  home  and  rest ;  but  you  must  get 
up  again  in  any  case  at  about  two  in  the  afternoon 
(dlohor\  and  whatever  happens  you  must  remember 

1  Her   Highness    Princess  Rundok,       evidently  the  name  given  to  the  fowl 
as  appears  from    the   line   below,    in       used  as  a  bait, 
which   she    is    again    referred   to,    is 


never  to  pass  underneath  a  low  overhanging  bough 
(because  such  a  bough  would  resemble  the  bent  rod 
of  the  floating  platform),  and  never  (for  the  time 
being)  to  eat  your  curry  without  starting  by  swallow- 
ing three  lumps  of  rice  successively.  If  you  do 
this  it  will  help  the  bait  to  slide  more  easily  down 
the  crocodile's  throat,  and  in  the  same  way  you  must 
never,  until  the  brute  is  safely  landed,  take  any  bones 
out  of  the  meat  in  your  curry — if  you  do,  the  wooden 
cross-piece  is  sure  to  get  loose  and  work  out  of  the 
fowl — so  it  is  just  as  well  to  get  somebody  to  take 
the  bones  out  of  your  meat  before  you  begin,  other- 
wise you  may  at  any  moment  be  compelled  to 
choose  between  swallowing  a  bone  and  losing  all  your 

I  will  pass  on  to  the  final  capture.  The  crocodile 
has  taken  the  bait,  we  will  say,  and  with  the  last  of  the 
ebb,  not  unfrequently  in  a  perilously  rickety  boat,  you 
go  out  to  look  for  the  tell-tale  end  of  the  line  that 
floats  up  among  the  forked  roots  of  the  mangrove 
trees.  First  you  must  go  to  the  place  where  you  left 
the  floating  platform ;  take  hold  of  the  pole  to  which 
it  is  moored  and  press  it  downwards  into  the  river- 
bottom,  saying  (to  the  hooked  crocodile)  as  you  do 
so : — 

"  Do  not  run  away, 

Our  agreement  was  a  cape  (further)  up-stream, 
A  cape  (further)  down-stream." l 

(Here  hold  your  breath  and  press  upon  the  pole.) 
Then  wait  for  the  tide  to  turn,  search  for  the  end 
of  the  line  (which,  being  of  rattan,  is  sure  to  float) 

1  Jangan  angkau  lari  ! 
Perjanjian  kita  sa-tanjong  ka  hulu, 
Sa-tanjong  ka  hilir. 


up  and  down  the  river  banks,  and  when  you  find  it 
take  hold  of  the  end  and  give  it  three  tugs,  repeating 
as  you  do  so  this  "  crippling  charm  "  : — 

"  I  know  the  origin  from  which  you  sprang, 
From  Fatimah  did  you  take  your  origin. 
Your  bones  (she  made  from)  sugar-cane  knots, 
Your  head  from  the  cabbage  of  a  cocoa-nut  palm, 
The  skin  of  your  breast  from  the  leaf-case  of  a  palm, 
Your  blood  from  saffron, 
Your  eyes  from  the  star  of  the  east, 

Your  teeth  from  the  pointed  suckers  of  the  berembang  tree, 
Your  tail  from  the  sprouting  of  a  thatch-palm." 

As  you  utter  the  last  words  give  the  end  of  the  line 
three  twists  (piok)  and  then  clench  the  teeth  upon  it 
(katup  di  gigi)  thrice,  holding  your  breath  as  you 
do  so ;  then  jerk  it  (rentafc)  thrice  and  haul  upon  it 
(runtun) ;  if  you  feel  much  resistance  slack  it  off 
again  and  repeat  the  ceremony,  using  the  "  crippling 
charm  "  as  before,  "  until  you  break  all  the  bones  in 
his  body."  Besides  this,  in  order  to  drive  the  "  mis- 
chief" out  of  the  crocodile,  you  may  say  :— 

"  Pardon,  King  of  the  Sea,  God  of  Currents, 
I  wish  to  drive  the  'mischief  out  of  this  crocodile."1 

And  strike  the  water  and  middle  of  the  line  with  the 
end  of  the  line  itself. 

Now  you  haul  on  the  line,  and  the  crocodile  comes 
up  to  the  top  with  a  rush,  and  the  fun  begins.  As 
he  comes  up  to  the  surface  you  ask  him,  "  Was  it  you 
who  caught  So-and-so  ?  "  And  if  he  wishes  to  reply 
in  the  affirmative  he  will  bellow  loudly.  When  he 
does  so,  say,  "  Wind  yourself  up  "  ("  lilit "),  and  he  will 
wind  the  line  round  his  muzzle.  And  when  you  want 

1   Tabek   Raja    di  Lout,  Mambang          2  Angkau  mfnangkap  Si  Anu  ? 

Tali  Harus, 
Aku  'nak  buang  badi  buaya  ini. 


to  kill  him,  chop  across  the  root  of  his  tail  with  a 
cutlass  ;  this  will  kill  him  at  once. 

I  may  add  that  it  is  not  generally  wise  to  keep  a 
captured  crocodile  alive  overnight,  as  he  happens  to  be 
one  of  the  clientele  of  a  certain  powerful  hantu  (spirit) 
named  Langsuir^  who  comes  to  the  assistance  of  his 
follower  at  night  and  endows  him  with  supernatural 
strength,  thus  enabling  him,  if  he  is  not  very  suffici- 
ently tied  up,  to  get  loose,  which  might  be  awkward. 
You  should  also  never  bring  one  into  the  house,  on 
account  of  an  understanding,  prejudicial  to  yourself, 
which  exists  between  him  and  the  common  house- 
lizard  (chichak). 

Of  the  folklore  which  is  concerned  with  other 
classes  of  "  reptilia  "  that  which  deals  with  Snakes  is 
the  most  important. 

"  The  gall-bladder  of  the  python,  uler  sawak,  is 
in  great  request  among  native  practitioners.  This 
serpent  is  supposed  to  have  two  of  these  organs,  one 
of  which  is  called  lampedu  idup,  or  the  live  gall- 
bladder. It  is  believed  that  if  a  python  is  killed  and 
this  organ  is  cut  out  and  kept,  it  .will  develop  into 
a  serpent  of  just  twice  the  size  of  that  from  which 
it  was  taken.  The  natives  positively  assert  that  the 
python  attains  a  length  of  sixty  to  seventy  feet,  and 
that  it  has  been  known  to  have  killed  and  eaten  a 

"  One  of  the  pit  vipers  is  exceedingly  sluggish  in 
its  movements,  and  will  remain  in  the  same  place  for 
days  together.  One  individual  that  was  watched,  lay 
coiled  up  on  the  branch  of  a  tree  for  five  days,  and 
probably  would  have  remained  much  longer,  but  at 
the  end  of  that  time  it  was  caught  and  preserved. 

1    Vide  Chap.  VI.  pp.  325-327,  infra. 


The  Malays  call  it  uler  kapak  daun,  and  they  say 
that  it  is  fed  three  times  a  day  by  birds,  who  bring 
it  insects  to  eat.  One  man  went  so  far  as  to  say 
that  he  had  actually  once  seen  some  birds  engaged 
in  feeding  one  of  these  beautiful  bright -green 
snakes." * 

In  Selangor,  as  in  Perak,  the  "live  gall-bladder" 
of  the  python  will  (it  is  believed),  if  kept  in  a  jar, 
develop  into  a  serpent ;  when  dried  it  is  in  great 
request  as  a  remedy  for  small-pox.  The  story  that 
Mr.  Wray  tells  of  the  pit  viper  (ular  kapak  daun)  is 
in  Selangor  told  of  a  snake  called  chintamani. 
Selangor  Malays  say  that  it  was  once  upon  a  time 
a  Raja  of  the  country,  and  that  the  birds  which 
bring  it  food  were  then  its  subjects.  A  Malay  told 
me  that  he  once  saw  this  operation,  and  that  the 
birds  fed  it  with  insects.  It  is  reputed  to  be  a 
perfectly  harmless  snake,  and  it  is  considered  ex- 
tremely lucky  to  keep  one  of  the  species  in  one's  house, 
or  even  to  see  it.  It  is  described  as  of  a  bright  and 
glittering  blue2  colour  (biru  berkilat-kilaf],  and  is 
frequently  referred  to  in  charms,  especially  those 
connected  with  the  Rice-soul  ceremony,  and  is  some- 
times said  to  spring  from  the  egg  of  the  chandra- 
wasih  or  bird  of  paradise. 

The  cobra  (ular  tedong]  is  said  to  have  a  bright 
stone  (kemala  or  gemala) 3  in  its  head,  the  radiance 
of  which  causes  its  head  to  be  visible  on  the  darkest 
night.  A  "  snake  bezoar "  (guliga  ular)  is  also  said 

1  Mr.  L.  Wray  in  "  Perak  Museum  3  I  have  heard  this  same  word  used 
Notes,"  quoted  in  the  Selangor  Journal,  to  describe  a  sort  of  unnatural  "  glow  " 
vol.  iii.  No.  6,  p.  94.  which  was  supposed  to  illumine  certain 

2  Other  accounts  make  it  out  to  be  parts  of  the  country  at  night ;  one  such 
of   a    golden   colour.       Vide  p.    506,  region  being  a  portion  of  the  coast  at 
infra.  Lukut  in  Sungei  Ujong. 


to  be  occasionally  found  in  the  back  of  a  snake's 
head  (?),  whilst  the  snake-stone  (batu  ular)  is  carried 
in  its  mouth. 

This  batu  ular  is  a  prize  for  the  possession  of 
which  snakes  are  not  unfrequently  believed  to  fight, 
and  appears  to  correspond  to  the  pearl  for  which  in 
Chinese  legendary  lore  the  dragons  of  that  country 
were  believed  to  engage  in  mortal  combat.  A  Malay 
remarked  to  me  that  it  was  always  worth  while  if  one 
came  upon  two  snakes  thus  engaged  to  kill  them  both, 
as  one  of  them  was  sure  to  possess  this  much-coveted 
stone,  which  is  said  to  confer  an  almost  certain  victory 
upon  its  possessor. 

Another  species  of  "snake-stone,"  which  is  said  to 
be  manufactured  by  Pawangs  from  gold,  silver, 
amalgam  (of  silver  and  gold),  tin,  iron,  and  quicksilver, 
is  called  Buntat  Raksa,  and  is  said  to  be  invaluable 
in  case  of  snake-bite.  It  is  believed  that  this  stone 
will  adhere  to  the  wound,  and  will  not  fall  off  until  it 
has  sucked  out  all  the  poison.  One  of  these  stones, 
which  was  sold  to  me  in  Selangor  for  a  dollar, 
was  about  an  inch  long  and  oval  in  shape ;  it  was 
evidently  made  of  some  mixture  of  metals,  and  was 
perforated  so  as  to  enable  it  to  be  carried  on  a 

The  ular  gantang  \s  said  to  be  a  snake,  though  from 
the  description  given  it  would  seem  more  likely  to  be 
some  species  of  slow- worm  or  blind-worm.  It  is  only 
a  "few  inches"  long,  and  is  "black,"  and  there  is  said 
to  be  little  if  any  difference  between  its  head  and  its 
tail.  It  is  considered  to  be  extremely  lucky,  and  when 
a  Malay  meets  it,  he  spreads  out  his  head -cloth  or 
turban  on  the  ground,  and  allows  it  to  enter,  when  he 
carries  it  home  and  keeps  it. 


To  dream  of  being  bitten  by  a  snake  is  thought  to 
portend  success  in  a  love  affair.1 

"A  horned  toad,  known  as  katak  bertandok,  but 
not  the  common  one  of  that  name  (Megalophrys 
nasuta,  Gunther),  has  a  very  bad  reputation  with  the 
Malays.  It  is  said  to  live  in  the  jungle  on  the  hills, 
and  wherever  it  takes  up  its  abode  all  the  trees  and 
plants  around  wither  and  die.  So  poisonous  is  it,  that 
it  is  dangerous  even  to  approach  it,  and  to  touch  or  be 
bitten  by  it  is  certain  death. 

"  The  bite  of  the  common  toad  (Bufo  melanostictus, 
Cantor)  is  also  said  to  prove  fatal.  That  toads  have 
no  teeth  is  an  anatomical  detail  that  does  not  seem  to 
be  thought  worthy  of  being  taken  into  account. 

"  The  supposed  venomous  properties  of  this  useful 
and  harmless  tribe  have  a  world -wide  range.  In 
Shakespeare  many  allusions  to  it  are  made ;  one  of 
them,  which  mentions  the  habit  of  hibernation  pos- 
sessed by  those  species  which  inhabit  the  colder  parts 
of  the  earth,  says— 

'  In  the  poison'd  entrails  throw, 
Toad,  that  under  coldest  stone 
Days  and  nights  hast  thirty-one, 
Swelter'd  venom  sleeping  got, 
Boil  thou  first  i'  the  charmed  pot.' 

"  In  another,  reference  is  made  to  the  toad-stone, 
which  seems  to  be  represented  in  Malayan  tradition 
by  the  pearl  carried  in  the  bodies  of  the  hamadryad, 
the  cobra,  and  the  bungarus,  the  three  most  deadly 
snakes  of  the  Peninsula  :— 

'  Sweet  are  the  uses  of  adversity, 
Which,  like  the  toad,  ugly  and  venomous, 
Wears  yet  a  precious  jewel  in  its  head.' 

1  Clifford,  In  Court  and  Kampong,  p.  189. 


"  There  is  some  foundation  of  fact  for  the  popular 
belief,  as  toads  secret  an  acrid  fluid  from  the  skin, 
which  appears  to  defend  them  from  the  attacks  of  car- 
nivorous animals."  l 

It  may  not  be  out  of  place  to  give  here  a  Malay 
tradition  about  a  species  of  snail : — 

"  A  strange  superstition  is  attached  to  a  small  snail 
which  frequents  the  neighbourhood  of  the  limestone 
hills  in  Perak.  It  belongs  to  the  Cyclophorida,  and 
is  probably  an  Alycceus.  Among  the  grass  in  the 
shadow  of  a  grazing  animal  these  creatures  are  to  be 
discovered,  and  if  one  of  them  is  crushed  it  will  be 
found  to  be  full  of  blood,  which  has  been  drawn  in  a 
mysterious  way  from  the  veins  of  the  animal  through 
its  shadow.  Where  these  noxious  snails  abound,  the 
cattle  become  emaciated  and  sometimes  even  die  from 
the  constant  loss  of  blood.  In  the  folklore  of  other 
countries  many  parallels  to  this  occur,  but  they  differ 
in  either  the  birds,  bats,  or  vampires,  who  are  supposed 
to  prey  on  the  life-blood  of  their  fellows,  going  direct 
to  the  animals  to  suck  the  blood,  instead  of  doing  so 
through  the  medium  of  their  shadows. ": 


Fish  are  in  many  cases  credited  by  the  Malay 
peasant  with  the  same  portentous  ancestry  as  that 
which  he  attributes  to  some  of  the  larger  animals  and 

"  Many  Malays  refuse  to  eat  the  fresh-water  fish 
called  ikan  belidah*  on  the  plea  that  it  was  originally 

1  Selangor  Journal,  vol.   iii.  No.  6,  ikan  lidah-lidah  and  letidak,  probably 
p.  92.  derived   from   lidah,  a  tongue,    owing 

2  Hid.,  p.  91.  to  its   shape.     This  fish  is  sometimes 

3  A  kind  of  flat  fish  (sole  ?),  also  called  sisa  Nal/i,    or  the    "  Prophet's 



a  cat.  They  declare  that  it  squalls  like  a  cat  when 
harpooned,  and  that  its  bones  are  white  and  fine  like 
a  cat's  hairs.  Similarly  the  ikan  tumuli  is  believed  to 
be  a  human  being  who  has  been  drowned  in  the  river, 
and  the  ikan  kalul  to  be  a  monkey  transformed.  Some 
specially  favoured  observers  have  seen  monkeys  half 
through  the  process  of  metamorphosis — half-monkey 
and  half-fish."1 

Similarly,  the  Dugong  (Malay  duyong]  is  asserted 

leavings,"  the  story  being  that  it  had 
originally  the  same  amount  of  flesh 
on  both  sides,  but  that  the  Prophet 
Muhammad,  having  eaten  the  whole  side 
of  one  of  these  fish  (which  had  been 
cooked  and  served  up  to  him  as  a  meal) 
cast  the  remaining  side  back  into  the 
sea,  whereupon  it  revived  and  com- 
menced swimming  about  as  if  nothing 
had  happened,  retaining,  however,  the 
shape  of  a  flat  fish  to  the  present  day. 

Cp.     the    following   note   in   Sale's 
Translation  of  the  Kordn : — 

"This  miracle  is  thus  related  by  the 
commentators.  Jesus  having,  at  the  re- 
quest of  his  followers,  asked  it  of  God, 
a  red  table  immediately  descended,  in 
their  sight,  between  two  clouds,  and  was 
set  before  them,  whereupon  he  rose  up, 
and  having  made  the  ablution,  prayed, 
and  then  took  off  the  cloth  which 
covered  the  table,  saying,  In  the  name 
of  God,  the  best  provider  of  food.  What 
the  provisions  were  with  which  this 
table  was  furnished  is  a  matter  wherein 
the  expositors  are  not  agreed.  One 
will  have  them  to  be  nine  cakes  of 
bread  and  nine  fishes  ;  another,  bread 
and  flesh  ;  another,  all  sorts  of  food, 
except  flesh  ;  another,  all  sorts  of  food 
except  bread  and  flesh  ;  another,  all 
except  bread  and  fish ;  another,  one 
fish,  which  had  the  taste  of  all  manner 
of  food  ;  and  another,  fruits  of  paradise, 
but  the  most  received  tradition  is  that 
when  the  table  was  uncovered,  there 
•  appeared  a  fish  ready  dressed,  without 
scales  or  prickly  fins,  dropping  with 
fat,  having  salt  placed  at  its  head  and 
vinegar  at  its  tail,  and  round  it  all  sorts 

of  herbs,  except  leeks,  and  five  loaves 
of  bread,  on  one  of  which  there  were 
olives,  on  the  second  honey,  on  the 
third  butter,  on  the  fourth,  cheese,  and 
on  the  fifth,  dried  flesh.  They  add 
that  Jesus,  at  the  request  of  the  apostles, 
showed  them  another  miracle,  by  re- 
storing the  fish  to  life,  and  causing  its 
scales  and  fins  to  return  to  it,  at  which 
the  slanders -by  being  affrighted,  he 
caused  it  to  become  as  before ;  that 
1300  men  and  women,  all  afflicted 
with  bodily  infirmities  or  poverty,  ate 
of  these  provisions  and  were  satisfied, 
the  fish  remaining  whole  as  it  was  at 
first ;  that  then  the  table  flew  up  to 
heaven  in  the  sight  of  all ;  and  every 
one  who  had  partaken  of  this  food  were 
delivered  from  their  infirmities  and  mis- 
fortunes ;  and  that  it  continued  to 
descend  for  forty  days  together  at 
dinner-time,  and  stood  on  the  ground 
till  the  sun  declined,  and  was  then 
taken  up  into  the  clouds.  Some  of  the 
Mohammedan  writers  are  of  opinion 
that  this  table  did  not  really  descend, 
but  that  it  was  only  a  parable ;  but 
most  think  the  words  of  the  Koran  are 
plain  to  the  contrary.  A  further  tradi- 
tion is,  that  several  men  were  changed 
into  swine  for  disbelieving  this  miracle, 
and  attributing  it  to  magic  art ;  or,  as 
others  pretend,  for  stealing  some  of  the 
victuals  from  off  it.  Several  other 
fabulous  circumstances  are  also  told 
which  are  scarce  worth  transcribing." 
— Sale's  Kor&n  Trans,  ch.  v.  p.  87, 

i  Maxwell  mJ.R.A.S,,  S.B.,  No.  7, 
p.  26. 


by  some  Malays  to  have  sprung  from  the  remains  of  a 
pig,  which  Muhammad  himself  dined  off  before  he  pro- 
nounced pork  to  be  the  accursed  thing.  Being  cast  by 
the  Prophet  into  the  sea,  it  revived  and  took  the  shape 
of  the  dugong,  in  which  shape  it  is  still  to  be  found  off 
the  coast  of  Lukut  and  Port  Dickson,  where  it  feeds 
upon  sea -grass  (rumput  setul\  in  common  with  a 
species  of  small  tripang  or  b^che-de-mer^ 

The  origin  of  the  Eel  (ikan  tiluf)  is  derived  from 
a  stem  of  the  gli-gli  plant ;  the  "  white-fish  "  (ikan 
puteh]  from  splinters,  or  rather  shavings  of  wood  (fatal 
kayu  or  tarahan  kayu] ;  the  senunggang  fish  from 
the  long -tailed  monkey  (kra) ;  the  aruan  fish  from 
a  frog  (kataK)  or  lizard  (mengkarong) ;  the  bujok 
fish  from  charred  fire-logs  (puntong  api] ;  the  telan 
fish  from  the  creeping  roots  of  the  yam  (sulur  kladi] ; 
and  so  on.  There  is  even  the  leaf  of  a  certain  tree 
which  is  sometimes  said  to  turn  into  a  fish  (the  ikan 
belidah)?  while  the  following  story  is  held  to  account 
for  the  origin  of  the  Porpoise  :— 

Once  upon  a  time  there  was  a  fishing- wizard 
(Pawang  Pukat)  who  had  encountered  nothing  but 
misfortune  from  first  to  last,  and  who  at  length  de- 
termined to  put  forth  all  his  skill  in  magic  in  one  last 
desperate  effort  to  repay  the  burden  of  debt  which 
threatened  to  crush  him.  One  day,  therefore,  having 
tried  his  luck  for  the  last  time,  and  still  caught  nothing, 
he  requested  his  comrades  to  collect  an  immense 
quantity  of  mangrove  leaves  in  their  boat.  Having  car- 
ried these  leaves  out  to  the  fishing-ground,  he  scattered 

1  The  tears  of  the  dugong  are  be-  the  sea,  the  Malays  have  their  mermaids, 

lieved  to  be  an  exceedingly  potent  love-  of  which  the  dugong  is  the  probable 

charm. —  F/i&Swettenham, Unaddressed  origin. — J.I. A.,  i.  9."  —  Quoted  by 

Letters,  p.  217.  Denys,  Diet.  Brit.  Mai.,  s.v.  Mermaid. 

"  Like  most  nations  dwelling  near  2  Videy  however,  supra. 


them  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  together  with  a  few 
handfuls  of  parched  and  saffron-stained  rice,  repeating 
a  series  of  most  powerful  spells  as  he  did  so.  The 
next  time  they  fished,  the  leaves  had  turned  into  fish 
of  all  shapes  and  sizes,  and  an  immense  haul  of  fish 
was  the  result.  The  wizard  then  gave  directions  for 
the  payment  in  full  of  all  his  debts  and  the  division 
of  the  balance  among  his  children,  and  then  without 
further  warning  plunged  into  the  sea  only  to  reappear 
as  a  porpoise. 

"A  species  of  fish-like  tadpole,1  found  at  certain 
seasons  of  the  year  in  the  streams  and  pools,  is  sup- 
posed to  divide  when  it  reaches  maturity,  the  front 
portion  forming  a  frog  and  the  after-part  or  tail  becom- 
ing the  fish  known  as  ikan  kli,  one  of  the  cat-fishes  or 
Siluridtz.  In  consequence  of  this  strange  idea  many 
Malays  will  not  eat  the  fish,  deeming  it  but  little  better 
than  the  animal  from  which  it  is  supposed  to  have  been 

"  The  ikan  kli  is  armed  with  two  sharp  barbed  spines 
attached  to  the  fore-part  of  the  pectoral  fins,  and  can 
and  does  inflict  very  nasty  wounds  with  them,  when 
incautiously  handled.  The  spines  are  reputed  to  be 
poisonous,  but  it  is  believed  that  if  the  brain  of  the 
offending  fish  is  applied  to  the  wound,  it  will  act  as  a 
complete  antidote  to  the  poisonous  principle,  and  the 
wound  will  heal  without  trouble.  The  English  cure 
for  hydrophobia — that  is,  '  the  hair  of  the  dog  that 
bit  you ' — will  occur  to  all  as  a  modification  of  the 

•  J  »  o 

same  idea. 

1  Mr.  Wray  no  doubt  refers  to  the  the  hinder  part  develops  into  the  ikan 

Prudu   (tadpole),    the    upper    half  of  lembat. 

which  is  declared  by  Selangor  Malays  *  Sel.  Journ.  vol.  iii.  No.  6,  p.  93. 

to  develop  into  a  frog  (katak),  while 


The  fish  called  seluang  is  used  for  purposes  of 
magic.  It  is  supposed  that  any  one  who  pokes  out  its 
eyes  with  a  special  needle  (which  must  be  one  out  of  a 
score — the  packets  being  made  up  in  scores — and  must 
possess  a  torn  eye)  will  be  able  to  inflict  blindness,  by 
sympathy,  upon  any  person  against  whom  he  has  a 

The  fish  called  kedera  is  supposed  to  change 
into  a  sea-bird. 

I  will  now  proceed  to  describe  the  ceremony  which 
is  supposed  to  secure  an  abundant  catch  of  fish  in  the 

In  January  1897  I  witnessed  the  ceremony  of 
sacrificing  at  the  fishing-stakes  (menyemah  b'lat]  which 
took  place  at  the  hamlet  of  Ayer  Hitam  (lit.  "  Black- 
water"),  in  the  coast  district  of  Kuala  Langat  (Se- 
langor).  The  chief  performer  of  the  rites  was  an  old 
Malay  named  Bilal  Umat,  who  had  owned  one  of  the 
fishing-stakes  in  the  neighbourhood  for  many  years 
past,  and  had  annually  officiated  at  the  ceremony 
which  I  was  about  to  witness.  I  and  my  small  party 
arrived  in  the  course  of  the  morning,  and  were  received 
by  Bilal  Umat,  who  conducted  us  to  the  long,  low 
palm-thatch  building  (bangsal  kelong),  just  above  high- 
water  mark,  in  which  he  and  his  men  resided  during 
the  fishing-season.  Here  we  found  that  a  feast  was 
in  course  of  preparation,  but  what  most  attracted  my 
attention  was  the  sight  of  three  large  sacrificial  basket- 
work  trays,2  each  about  2^  feet  square,  and  with  high 
fringed  sides  which  were  suspended  in  a  row  from  the 
roof  of  the  verandah,  on  the  seaward  side  of  the  build- 

1  Vide  App.  cclxxiv.  Malays    to    contain    offerings    to    the 

2  These    were    trays    of    the    kind       spirits.     For  fuller  details,  cp.  pp.  414- 
called  anchak  which  are  used  by  the       422,  infra. 



ing.  These  trays  were  empty,  but  had  been  lined 
with  banana  leaves  to  prepare  them  for  the  reception 
of  the  offerings,  which  latter  were  displayed  upon  a 
raised  platform  standing  just  in  front  of  them. 


Direction  of  shoal  and 
fishing -stakes  where 
the  other  two  trays 
were  suspended. 

Raised  platform 

I       I  (with  offerings,  before  the  loading  of  the  trays). 

fro  "cm  R 

Three  trays. 


Bangsal  Kelong. 


O  Tree  where  one  of  the  trays  was  suspended. 
FIG.  i.— Ceremony  of  sacrificing  at  the  fishing-stakes. 

Shortly  after  our  arrival  the  loading  of  the  trays 
commenced.  First  Bilal  Umat  took  a  large  bowl  of 
parched  rice,  and  poured  it  into  the  trays,  until  the 
bottom  of  each  tray  was  filled  with  a  layer  of  parched 
rice  about  an  inch  in  depth. 

Next  he  took  a  bowl  of  saffron-stained  rice,  and 
deposited  about  five  portions  of  it  in  the  centre  and 
four  corners  of  each  tray  ;  then  he  made  a  similar  dis- 
tribution of  small  portions  of  washed  rice,  of  sweet 
)Otatoes  (KledeK],  of  yams  (k'ladi),  of  tapioca  (ubi 
kayu),  of  bananas  (pisang),  and  betel  -  leaf  (sirik)— 
there  being  two  sets,  one  cooked  and  one  uncooked, 
of  each  of  these  portions,  except  the  last.  Finally,  he 


added  one  cigarette  to  each  portion,  the  cigarette  being 
intended  for  the  spirits  to  smoke  after  their  meal ! 

A  fine  black  goat,  "  without  blemish  and  without 
spot,"  had  been  killed  by  Bilal  Umat  early  that  morn- 
ing, and  he  now  deposited  its  head  in  the  middle  of  the 
central  tray,  two  of  the  feet  in  the  middle  of  the  right- 
hand  tray,  and  the  other  two  feet  in  the  middle  of  that 
on  the  left.  To  each  of  these  three  central  portions 
were  now  added  small  portions  of  the  animal's  viscera 
(liver,  spleen,  lights,  tripe,  heart,  etc.),  and  then  the 
small  diamond-shaped  (ketupaf)  and  cylindrical  (lepaf] 
rice-bags *  were  suspended  in  the  usual  manner.  A 
wax  taper  was  added  to  each  portion  of  each  tray,  and 
the  loading  of  the  trays  declared  complete. 

Everything  being  now  ready,  Bilal  Umat  carried  a 
smoking  censer  thrice  round  the  row  of  trays  (walking 
always  towards  the  left),  and  then  lighting  the  five  wax 
tapers  of  the  left-hand  tray,  directed  two  of  his  men  to 
take  down  this  tray  and  sling  it  on  a  pole  between  them. 
This  they  did,  and  we  set  offin  procession  alongthesandy 
foreshore  at  the  back  of  the  building  until  we  came  to 
a  halt  at  a  spot  about  fifty  yards  off,  where  Bilal  Umat 
suspended  the  tray  from  the  branch  of  a  mangrove-tree 
about  five  feet  from  the  ground.  This  done,  he  faced 
round  towards  the  land,  and  breaking  off  a  branch  of 
the  tree,  gave  utterance  to  three  stentorian  cooees, 
which  he  afterwards  informed  me  were  intended  to 
notify  the  Land  Spirits  (Orang  darat,  lit.  "  Land  Folk") 
of  the  fact  that  offerings  were  awaiting  their  accept- 
ance. Returning  to  the  house,  he  manufactured  one 
of  the  leaf-brushes2  which  the  Malays  always  used 

1  For  details  of  a  similar  ceremony,  mony  which  is  to  be  performed.      In 
vide  pp.  416-418,  infra.  this  case  leaves  or  sprays  of  the  follow- 

2  The  composition  of  these  brushes  ing  plants  were  used  : — 
varies  apparently  according  to  the  cere-  I.   Sapenoh, 



for  the  "  Neutralising  Rice-paste "  (tepong  tawar) 
rite,  and  we  then  started  in  a  couple  of  boats  for 
the  fishing-stakes,  taking  with  us  the  two  remaining 

Of  these  two  trays,  one  was  suspended  by  Bilal 
Umat  from  a  high  wooden  tripod  which  had  been 
erected  for  the  purpose,  the  site  selected  being  the 
centre  of  a  shoal  about  half-way  between  the  fishing- 
stakes  and  the  house.  The  third  tray,  which  contained 
the  head  of  the  goat  (kapala  kambing  dengan  buah- 
nya),  was  then  taken  on  to  the  fishing-stakes,  Bilal 
Umat  disposing  of  a  large  quantity  of  miscellaneous 
offerings  which  he  had  brought  with  him  in  a  basket 
by  strewing  them  upon  the  surface  of  the  sea  as  we 
went  along.1 

On  reaching  the  stakes,  the  Pawang  (Bilal  Umat) 

2.  Ltnjuang  merah  (the   red    Dra- 

3.  Gandarusa. 

4.  Satawar. 

5.  Sadingin. 

6.  Pulut-pulut  (?)  or  Sflaguri(i) 

7.  Mangrove  (bakau). 

These  leaves  were  tied  together  with  a 
small  creeper  called  ribu-ribu  (a  so- 
called  ' '  female  "  variety,  which  is  said 
to  have  larger  leaves  than  the  "  male 
variety,"  being  used).  For  further 
details,  vide  Chap.  III.  pp.  78-80, 

1  The  following  is  a  list,  as  correct 
as  I  was  able  to  make  it,  of  the  number 
and  order  of  the  offerings  which  were 
thus  distributed  : — 

1.  A  portion  of  parched  rice. 

2.  A  portion  of  sweet  potatoes. 

3.  Two  (cooked)  bananas. 

4.  Two     Ifpats    (small     cylindrical 

5.  Three  (cooked)  bananas. 

6.  Two    kftupats    (small    diamond- 
shaped  bags). 

7.  Three  yams  (k'ladt), 

8.  A  portion  of  parched  rice. 

9.  Three  short  lengths  of  the  stem 
of  the  tapioca  plant  (ubi  kayu}. 

10.  Three  sweet  potatoes. 
1  1.   Four  sweet  potatoes. 

12.  A   portion    of    uncooked    liver 

13.  A  portion  of  cooked  meat. 

14.  Four  sweet  potatoes. 

15.  Three  cooked  bananas. 
1  6.   Three  kttupats. 

17.  Three  (green)  bananas. 
1  8.  Three  kttupats. 

19  ..... 

20.  Three  green  bananas. 



Three  sweet  potatoes. 
Three  yams. 
Three  Itpats. 

,»       » 
Two  Itpats. 
Five  kttupats. 
Two  yams. 
Two  sweet  potatoes. 
One  cooked  banana. 
Three  handfuls  of  white  pulut 

Three  handfuls  of  parched  rice. 


suspended  the  tray  from  a  projecting  pole  at  the  sea- 
ward end  of  the  fishing-stakes,1  and  then  seating  him- 
self upon  one  of  the  timbers  almost  directly  underneath 
it,  scattered  handfuls  of  saffron-stained  rice,  "washed" 
rice,  and  native  cigarettes  upon  the  water,  just  outside 
the  two  seaward  posts  at  the  end  of  the  stakes,  and 
emptied  out  the  remainder  of  the  parched  rice  upon  the 
water  just  inside  the  "  head  "  of  the  stakes.  Then  he 
recited  a  charm,  stirred  the  bowl  of  neutralising  rice- 
paste  (tepong  tawar)  with  the  brush  of  leaves,  and 
taking  the  latter  out  of  the  bowl,  sprinkled,  or  rather 
daubed  it  first  upon  the  two  "  tide-braces "  of  the 
stakes  (first  upon  the  left  "  tide-brace,"  and  then  upon 
the  right),  then  upon  the  heads  of  the  two  upright 
posts  next  to  the  tide-braces,  and  then  delegated  the 
brush  to  two  assistants.  One  of  these  sprinkled  the 
heads  of  all  the  (remaining)  upright  posts  in  the  sea- 
ward compartment  of  the  stakes,  while  the  other 
boarded  the  big  boat  belonging  to  the  stakes,  and 
sprinkled  the  boat  and  all  its  gear  from  stem  to  stern 
(commencing  on  the  left  side  of  the  bows,  and  working 
right  down  to  the  stern,  and  then  recommencing  on  the 
right  and  working  down  to  the  stern  again).  Finally, 
the  same  assistant  returning  to  the  stakes,  washed  the 
rice-bowl  in  the  sea  just  beneath  the  place  where  Bilal 
Umat  was  sitting,  and  fastened  up  the  leaf-brush  to  the 
left-hand  head-post  (kayu  puchi  kiri)  at  the  seaward 
end  of  the  stakes.  To  the  above  account  I  may  add 
that  a  number  of  taboos  are  still  pretty  rigorously 
enforced  by  the  fishing-wizards  (Pawang  B'lat)  upon 
the  coast  of  Selangor.  I  was  never  allowed  to  take 
either  an  umbrella  or  boots  into  the  fishing-stakes 

1  This  was  one  of  the   tide-braces      stakes,  the  one  used  being  that  on  the 
which    are    used    to    strengthen    the       left  hand  looking  seaward. 


when  I  visited  them — the  spirits  having,  I  was  told, 
the  strongest  possible  objection  to  the  use  of  either. 

Other  "perpetual  taboos"  (pantang  salama-lama- 
nya)  are  to  bathe  without  wearing  a  bathing-cloth 
(mandi  ttlanjang],  to  throw  the  wet  bathing-cloth  over 
the  shoulder  when  returning  to  the  house,  and  to  rub 
one  foot  against  the  other  (gosok  satu  kaki  dengan 
lain).  Sarongs,  umbrellas,  and  shoes  must  never  on 
any  pretence  be  worn.  I  may  add  that  the  first  pole 
planted  is  called  Turns  Tuah  (tua  ?),  and  if  the 
response  of  the  spirits  to  the  invocation  be  favourable, 
it  is  believed  that  it  will  enter  the  ground  readily,  as  if 
pulled  from  below.  The  only  seven-days'  taboo  which 
I  have  heard  mentioned  (though,  no  doubt,  there  are 
many  others)  is  the  scrupulous  observance  of  chastity. 

A  boat  which  possesses  a  knot  in  the  centre  of  its 
keel,  or  to  which  the  smell  of  fish  long  adheres  (p'raku 
peranyir,  or  perhanyir),  is  supposed  to  bring  good  luck 
to  the  fishermen. 

There  is  also  a  regular  "taboo  language"  used  by 
the  fishermen,  of  which  the  following  are  examples  : — 

"  Fish  =  daun  kayu  (tree-leaves)  or  sampah  laut  (jetsam). 
Snake  =  akar  hidup  (living  creeper). 
Crocodile  =  batang  kayu  (tree-log). 
Seaward  compartment  of  the  stakes  (bunohari)  =  kurong.n 

At  the  close  of  the  ceremony  Bilal  Umat  repeated 
to  me  one  of  the  belong1  invocations  which  he  had 
just  been  making  use  of,  and  which  ran  as  follows  :— 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  God's  Prophet,  Tap  ! 
Peace  be  with  you,  God's  Prophet,  Khizr ! 
Peace  be  with  you,  God's  Prophet,  Noah ! 
Peace  be  with  you,  god  of  the  Back-water ! 

1  Kelong  is  the  name  given  to  one       like  weirs)  common  on  the  coasts  of  the 
of  the  kinds  of  fishing-stakes  (something       Peninsula. 


Peace  be  with  you,  god  of  the  c  Bajau ' ! 

Peace  be  with  you,  god  of  Mid-currents  ! 

Peace  be  with  you,  god  of  the  Yellow  Sunset-glow ! 

Peace  be  with  you,  Old  Togok  the  Wizard  ! 

Peace  be  with  you,  O  Elder  Wizard  ! 

It  is  not  I  who  make  you  this  peace-offering, 

It  is  Old  Togok  the  Wizard  who  makes  it. 

It  is  the  Elder  Wizard  who  makes  it, 

By  the  order  of  Old  Aur  Gading  (lit.  '  Ivory  Bamboo '). 

By. virtue  of  'There  is  no  god,'  "  etc.1 

The  following  was  the  charm  used  by  the  Pawang 
at  the  planting  of  the  first  pole  of  a.jerma.1  :*- 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  Eldest  Wizard,  First  of  Wizards,  Allah, 
And  Musa,  the  Converser  with  Allah. 
Sedang  Bima,  Sedang  Buana, 
Sedang  Juara,  and  King  of  the  Sea, 
Come  let  us  all  together 
Plant  the  pole  of  this  jermal." 

Even  when  fishing  with  rod  and  line,  a  serapah 
(invocation)  of  some  sort,  such  as  the  following,  was 
generally  used : — 

"  Ho,  God  of  Mid-currents, 
See  that  you  do  not  agitate  my  hook ! 
If  my  hook  is  to  the  left, 
Do  you  go  to  the  right. 
If  my  hook  is  to  the  right, 
Do  you  go  to  the  left. 
If  you  approach  this  hook  of  mine 
You  shall  be  cursed  by  the  Saying  of  God,"  etc. 

1  A  different  Pawang  gave  me  the  Your  father's  in  the  tip  of  the  "wings" 

following  (alternative)  instructions:—  WetefflSdSt 

' '  When  you  are  about   to  plant  the  If  in  truth  we  be  brothers, 

(first)  seaward  pole  of  the  fishing-stakes,  Do  V°u  lend  me  vour  Assistance.' 

take  hold  of  it  and  say  :—  "  Here  Plant  the  Pole»  and  »y  :~ 

'  My  foot  is  planted  in  the  very  heavens, 

'  O  Pawang  Kisa,  Pawang  Berima,  Si  Arjuna,  My  pole  rests  against  the  pillar  of  the  firma- 

King  at  Sea,  ment. 

O  Durai,  Si  Biti  is  the  name  of  your  mother,  God  lets  it  down,  Muhammad  receives  it. 

Si  Tanjong  (Sir  Cape)  that  of  your  father!  Six  fathoms  to  the  left.six  fathoms  to  the  right, 

In  your  charge  are  the  points  of  the  capes,  in  Do  you,    O  family  of  three,   assist  in  my 

your  charge  all  borders  of  the  shore,  maintenance. 

In  your  charge,  too,  are  the  river  bars  !  May  this  be  granted  by  God,'    etc. 

Your  mother's  place  is  on  the  seaward  pole,  2  Jfrmal  is  another  kind  of  fish-trap, 

your  child  s  at  the  shoreward  end  of  the  j-o-         .  /•          .1       ?   , 

screens,  different  from  the  kelong. 


(Before  casting  the  line,  a  chew  of  betel-leaf  should 
be  thrown  into  the  water.) 

Another  very  common  rhyming  charm  would 
frequently  be  addressed  to  the  fish  :— 

"  Swallow  (lit.  receive)  the  gut  of  my  line, 
Be  it  broken  sooner  than  torn  from  my  hands, 
If  you  tear  it  from  my  hands 
Your  eye  shall  be  plucked  out." 

(d]  Fire 


"  Procuring  fire  by  friction  is  an  accomplishment 
as  common  to  the  Malay  as  to  the  North  American 
Indian.  The  process  is,  however,  slightly  different. 
While  the  latter  resorts  to  circular  friction,  the  Malay 
cuts  a  notch  on  the  converse  surface  of  a  bamboo, 
across  which  he  rapidly  rubs  another  piece  cut  to  a 
sharp  edge.  A  fine  powder  is  rubbed  away  and  this 
ignites.  Bamboo  is  also  used  as  a  flint  with  tinder. 
The  all -pervading  match,  however,  is  alone  used  in 
all  districts  under  foreign  influence." l 

The  foregoing  description  requires  to  be  supple- 
mented, for  the  method  of  procuring  fire  by  circular 
friction  is  hardly  (if  at  all)  less  common  among  the 
Malays  than  the  method  of  cross  friction.  The 
former  process  takes  the  form  of  the  well-known 
"fire-drill,"  both  the  block  and  the  upright  stick 
being  generally  made  of  makang  wood.  The 
upright  stick  is  frequently  worked  by  a  species  of 
"  bow,"  such  as  that  used  by  carpenters,  and  is  kept 
from  jumping  out  of  the  socket  in  which  it  revolves 

1  Denys,  Descr.  Diet,  of  Brit.  Mai.,  s.v.  Fire. 

3i8  FIRE  CHAP. 

by  means  of  a  cocoa-nut  shell,  which  is  pressed  down 
from  above.  When  cross  friction  is  used,  a  long 
narrow  slit  is  usually  cut,  following  the  grain,  in  the 
convex  surface  of  the  piece  of  bamboo,  the  dust 
which  is  rubbed  away  falling  through  it  and  gradually 
forming  a  little  pile  which  presently  ignites.  It  is 
hardly  necessary  to  cut  a  notch  for  the  cross-piece, 
as  a  groove  is  very  quickly  worn  when  the  friction 
is  started.  A  species  of  fire  -  syringe  has  also,  I 
believe,  been  collected  by  Mr.  L.  Wray  in  Perak. 

2.    FIRE    CHARMS 

In  procuring  fire  by  circular  or  cross  friction  the 
performer  will  often  say,  by  way  of  a  charm — 

"  The  Mouse-deer  asks  for  Fire l 
To  singe  his  mother-in-law's  feathers." 

The  "  mouse-deer's  mother-in-law  "  is  the  name  of  a 
small  bird,  which  is  said  to  have  very  gay  plumage  of 
five  colours  and  to  resemble  the  green  pigeon  (flunei) 
in  shape,  and  the  explanation  of  this  charm  is  said 
to  be  that  in  the  days  of  King  Solomon,  when  both 
the  mouse-deer  and  his  mother-in-law  wore  their 
human  forms,  the  Mouse -deer  was  greatly  annoyed 
by  the  conduct  of  his  mother-in-law,  who  kept  dan- 
cing in  front  of  him  as  he  went.  A  quarrel  ensued,2 
as  the  result  of  which  they  were  both  transformed 
into  the  shapes  which  they  now  respectively  bear ; 
but  the  mother-in-law  has  not  yet  abandoned  her 
exasperating  tactics,  and  may  still  often  be  seen 

1  PUandok  minta"  apit  cursed    his    mother-in-law,    saying  : — 
'Nak  membakar  bulu  mfntua-nya.       "  Kalau    betul    aku   pSmainan    Raja 

2  The  Mouse-deer  is  said  to  have       Suleiman  angkau  bfrsayap. " 


tantalising  the  Mouse-deer  by  hopping  in  front  of  it 
as  it  goes  along. 

There  are  still  some  traces  of  the  influence  of 
animistic  ideas  in  that  part  of  Malay  folklore  which 
is  concerned  with  fire.  If  an  inflammable  object, 
such  as  wood,  falls  by  accident  into  the  fire,  a  stick 
must  be  used  in  extracting  it,  and  the  stick  left,  as 
a  substitute,  in  its  place. 

The  hearth-fire  (api  dapor]  must  never  be  stepped 
over  (di-langkah-nya),  nor  must  the  rice-pot  which 
stands  upon  it,  as  in  the  latter  case  the  person  who 
does  so  will  be  "cursed  by  the  Rice." 

Both  fire  and  smoke  (fumigation)  are  a  good  deal 
used  by  the  Malays  for  purposes  of  ceremonial  puri- 
fication, but  the  details  of  such  rites  cannot  be  con- 
veniently discussed  except  in  connection  with  the 
complete  ceremonies  of  which  they  form  a  part ;  they 
will  accordingly  be  found  under  such  headings  as 
Birth,  Adolescence,  Marriage,  Medicine,  and  Funerals.1 

1  Illumination  with  tiny  lamps  is  Fasting  ;  and  the  Malays  have  to  some 
also  common  on  feast-days  (hari  raya),  extent  adopted  the  Chinese  penchant 
especially  at  the  end  of  the  Month  of  for  fireworks. 



WE  now  come  to  the  spirits  which  are  believed  to 
attack  both  women  and  children  at  childbirth. 

These  are  four  in  number :  the  Bajang,  which 
generally  takes  the  form  of  a  pole-cat  (musang)  and 
disturbs  the  household  by  mewing  like  a  great  cat  ; 
the  Langsuir,  which  takes  the  form  of  an  owl  with 
long  claws,  which  sits  and  hoots  upon  the  roof-tree ; 
the  Pontianak  or  Mati-anak,  which,  as  will  be  seen 
presently,  is  also  a  night-owl,  and  is  supposed  to  be 
a  child  of  the  Langsuir,  and  the  Penanggalan,  which 
is  believed  to  resemble  a  trunkless  human  head  with 
the  sac  of  the  stomach  attached  to  it,  and  which  flies 
about  seeking  for  an  opportunity  of  sucking  the  blood 
of  infants. 

With  the  above  are  often  associated  the  Polong, 
which  is  described  as  a  diminutive  but  malicious 
species  of  bottle -imp,  and  the  Pelesit,  which  is  the 
name  given  to  a  kind  of  grasshopper  (or  cricket  ?), 
but  these  latter,  though  often  associated  with  the 
regular  birth-spirits,  partake  also  of  the  character  of 




familiar  spirits1  or  bottle-imps,  and  are  usually  private 

I  will  now  take  these  spirits  in  the  above  order. 
The  Bajang,  as  I  have  said,  is  generally  described 
as  taking  the  form  of  a  pole -cat  (musang),  but  it 
appears  to  be  occasionally  confused  with  the  Pe'lesit. 
Thus  a  Malay  magician  once  told  me  that  the  Bajang 
took  the  form  of  a  house-cricket,  and  that  when  thus 
embodied  it  may  be  kept  by  a  man,  as  the  Pe'le'sit 
may  be  kept  by  a  woman.  This  statement,  however, 
must  not  be  accepted  without  due  reserve,  and  it 
may  be  taken  as  a  certainty  that  the  usual  conception 
of  the  Bajang's  embodiment  is  a  pole-cat.2 

I  need  hardly  say  that  it  is  considered  very  danger- 
ous to  children,  who  are  sometimes  provided  with  a 
sort  of  armlet  of  black  silk  threads,  called  a  "bajang 
bracelet"  (glang  bajang),  which,  it  is  supposed,  will 
protect  them  against  it.  On  the  opposite  page  will 

1  "  To  return  to  the  elemental  spirits, 
it  was  explained  to  me  by  a  Malay, 
with  whom  I  discussed  the  subject  at 
leisure,  that  apart  from  the  spirits 
which  are  an  object  of  reverence,  and 
which  when  treated  with  proper  defer- 
ence are  usually  beneficent,  there  are 
a  variety  of  others.  To  begin  with, 
spirits  (the  word  used  on  this  occasion 
was  hantu)  are  of  at  least  two  kinds — 
wild  ones,  whose  normal  habitat  is  the 
jungle,  and  those  that  are,  so  to  say, 
domesticated.  The  latter,  which  seem 
to  correspond  to  what  in  Western 
magic  are  called  '  familiars,'  vary  in 
character  with  their  owners  or  the 
persons  to  whom  they  are  attached. 
Thus  in  this  particular  village  of  Bukit 
Senggeh,  a  few  years  ago,  there  was  a 
good  deal  of  alarm  on  account  of  the 
arrival  of  two  or  three  strangers  believed 
to  be  of  bad  character,  who  were  sup- 
posed to  keep  a  familiar  spirit  of  a 

peculiarly  malignant  disposition,  which 
was  in  the  habit  of  attacking  people  in 
their  sleep  by  throttling  them.  One 
or  two  cases  of  this  kind  occurred,  and 
it  was  seriously  suggested  that  I  should 
make  the  matter  the  subject  of  a  ma- 
gisterial inquiry,  which,  however,  I  did 
not  find  it  necessary  to  do.  But  the 
familiar  spirits  are  by  no  means  neces- 
sarily evil The  chief  point  of 

importance  is  to  keep  these  wild  spirits 
in  their  proper  place,  viz.  the  jungle, 
and  to  prevent  them  taking  up  their 
abode  in  the  villages.  For  this  reason 
charms  are  hung  up  at  the  borders  of 
the  villages,  and  whenever  a  wild  spirit 
breaks  bounds  and  encroaches  on  human 
habitations  it  is  necessary  to  get  him 
turned  out." — Blagden  in  J.R.A.S., 
S.B.  No.  29,  p.  4. 

2   Vide  Klinkert,  v.  d.  Wall,  and  Pijn- 
appel,  sub  voce. 


be  seen  a  remarkable  drawing l  (of  which  a  facsimile 
is  here  given),  which  appears  to  represent  the  outline 
of  a  Bajang,  "  scripturally "  modified  to  serve  as  a 
counter-charm  against  the  Bajang  itself.2 

The  following  account  of  the   Bajang  is  by   Sir 
Frank  Swettenham  : — 

"  Some  one  in  the  village  falls  ill  of  a  complaint 
the  symptoms  of  which  are  unusual ;  there  may  be 
convulsions,  unconsciousness,  or  delirium,  possibly  for 
some  days  together  or  with  intervals  between  the 
attacks.  The  relatives  will  call  in  a  native  doctor, 
and  at  her  (she  is  usually  an  ancient  female)  sug- 
gestion, or  without  it,  an  impression  will  arise  that 
the  patient  is  the  victim  of  a  bajang.  Such  an  im- 
pression quickly  develops  into  certainty,  and  any 
trifle  will  suggest  the  owner  of  the  evil  spirit.  One 
method  of  verifying  this  suspicion  is  to  wait  till  the 
patient  is  in  a  state  of  delirium,  and  then  to  question 
him  or  her  as  to  who  is  the  author  of  the  trouble. 
This  should  be  done  by  some  independent  person  of 
authority,  who  is  supposed  to  be  able  to  ascertain 
the  truth. 

1  This    "Bajang"    was   copied   for  parts  of  the   Peninsula,  however,  the 
me    by   'Che    Sam    (for    many    years  Bajang   is    regarded    as    one    of    the 
Malay    munshi    and    clerk    at    Kuala  several   kinds    of  demons   which,   the 
Lumpur,   Selangor),  from  the  original  Malays  hold,  can  be  enslaved  by  man 
which  was  posted  up  on  the  door  of  and  become  his  familiar  spirit.     Such 
one  of  his  neighbours.     The  outlines  familiars,    it    is    believed,    are  handed 
of  the  figure  are  made  up  from  varying  down  in  certain  families  as  heirlooms, 
combinations  of  the  names  "  Allah,"  The  master  of  the  familiar  is  said  to 
"Muhammad,"   "  'Ali,"  etc.,    in    the  keep    it    imprisoned    in   a   tabong,    or 
Arabic  character.  vessel  made  from  a  joint  of  the  bamboo, 

2  "In   all    parts    of  the    Peninsula  which  is    closed   by  a    stopper   made 
the    Bajang    is    said    to    be    of    the  from  the  leaves  of  the  Cotyledon  ladni- 
male   gender,   while    the  Langsuir  is  ata,  the  Daun  chekar  bebek,  or  Daun 
supposed  to  be  a  female.      It  is  usually  sadingin,  as  they  are  variously  termed 
believed  by  Malays  that  the  Bajang  is  by  the    Malays.     Both   the    case  and 
merely  a  malignant  spirit  which  haunts  the  stopper  are    prepared    by   certain 
mankind,  and  whose  presence  foretells  magic  arts  before  they  can  be  employed 
disaster.      In   Perak  and  some   other  in  this  way.     The  familiar  is  fed  with 


"  A  further  and  convincing  proof  is  then  to  call 
in  a  ' Pawang*  skilled  in  dealing  with  wizards  (in 
Malay  countries  they  are  usually  men),  and  if  he 
knows  his  business  his  power  is  such  that  he  will 
place  the  sorcerer  in  one  room,  and,  while  he  in 
another  scrapes  an  iron  vessel  with  a  razor,  the 
culprit's  hair  will  fall  off  as  though  the  razor  had 
been  applied  to  his  head  instead  of  to  the  vessel ! 
That  is  supposing  he  is  the  culprit ;  if  not,  of  course 
he  will  pass  through  the  ordeal  without  damage. 

"  I  have  been  assured  that  the  shaving  process  is 
so  efficacious  that,  as  the  vessel  represents  the  head 
of  the  person  standing  his  trial,  wherever  it  is  scraped 
the  wizard's  hair  will  fall  off  in  a  corresponding  spot. 
It  might  be  supposed  that  under  these  circumstances 
the  accused  is  reasonably  safe,  but  this  test  of  guilt 
is  not  always  employed.  What  more  commonly 
happens  is  that  when  several  cases  of  unexplained 
sickness  have  occurred  in  a  village,  with  possibly  one 
or  two  deaths,  the  people  of  the  place  lodge  a  formal 
complaint  against  the  supposed  author  of  these  ills, 
and  desire  that  he  be  punished. 

"  Before  the  advent  of  British  influence  it  was  the 
practice  to  kill  the  wizard  or  witch  whose  guilt  had 
been  established  to  Malay  satisfaction,  and  such  execu- 
tions were  carried  out  not  many  years  ago. 

"  I  remember  a  case  in  Perak  less  than  ten  years 
ago,  when  the  people  of  an  up-river  village  accused 
a  man  of  keeping  a  bdjang,  and  the  present  Sultan, 

eggs    and    milk.      When    its    master  which   can   only  be   cured   by  magic 

wishes  to  make  use  of  it  he  sends  it  agencies.     If  the  Bajang  is  neglected 

forth  to  possess   and   prey   upon   the  by  its  owner,  and  if  the  latter  omits  to 

vitals  of  any  one  whom  his  malice  may  feed  it  regularly,  it  is  said  that  he  often 

select   as   a   victim.      The   individual  falls  a  victim  to  his  own  familiar. "  — 

thus  persecuted   is   at  once  seized  by  Clifford  and   Swett.,  Mai.    Die.,  s.v. 

a  deadly  and  unaccountable  ailment,  Bajang. 


who  was  then  the  principal  Malay  judge  in  the  State, 
told  them  he  would  severely  punish  the  bdjang  if  they 
would  produce  it.  They  went  away  hardly  satisfied, 
and  shortly  after  made  a  united  representation  to  the 
effect  that  if  the  person  suspected  were  allowed  to 
remain  in  their  midst  they  would  kill  him.  Before 
anything  could  be  done  they  put  him,  his  family,  and 
effects  on  a  raft  and  started  them  down  the  river. 
On  their  arrival  at  Kuala  Kangsar  the  man  was  given 
an  isolated  hut  to  live  in,  but  not  long  afterwards  he 

"  The  hereditary  bdjang  comes  like  other  evils, 
the  unsought  heritage  of  a  dissolute  ancestry,  but  the 
acquired  bdjang  is  usually  obtained  from  the  newly- 
buried  body  of  a  stillborn  child,  which  is  supposed 
to  be  the  abiding-place  of  a  familiar  spirit  until  lured 
therefrom  by  the  solicitations  of  some  one  who,  at 
dead  of  night,  stands  over  the  grave  and  by  potent 
incantations  persuades  the  bdjang  to  come  forth."  x 

"It  is  all  very  well  for  the  Kedah  ladies  to  sacrifice 
their  shadows  to  obtain  possession  of  a  pelsit,  leaders 
of  society  must  be  in  the  fashion  at  any  cost ;  but 
there  are  plenty  of  people  living  in  Perak  who  have 
seen  more  than  one  ancient  Malay  dame  taken  out 
into  the  river  and,  despite  her  protestations,  her 
tears,  and  entreaties,  have  watched  her,  with  hands 
and  feet  tied,  put  into  the  water  and  slowly  pushed 
down  out  of  sight  by  means  of  a  long  pole  with  a 
fork  at  one  end  which  fitted  on  her  neck.  Those 
who  have  witnessed  these  executions  have  no  doubt 
of  the  justice  of  the  punishment,  and  not  uncommonly 
add  that  after  two  or  three  examples  had  been  made 
there  would  always  ensue  a  period  of  rest  from  the 

1  Swell.,  Mai,  Sketches,  p.  194,  seqq. 

vi  THE  LANGSUIR  325 

torments  of  the  bdjang.  \  have  also  been  assured 
that  the  bdjang,  in  the  shape  of  a  lizard,  has  been 
seen  to  issue  from  the  drowning  person's  nose.  That 
statement  no  doubt  is  made  on  the  authority  of  those 
who  condemned  and  executed  the  victim."1 

The  popular  superstition  about  the  Langsuir  is 
thus  described  by  Sir  William  Maxwell  :— 

"  If  a  woman  dies  in  childbirth,  either  before 
delivery  or  after  the  birth  of  a  child,  and  before  the 
forty  days  of  uncleanness  have  expired,  she  is  popu- 
larly supposed  to  become  a  langsuyar,  a  flying 
demon  of  the  nature  of  the  '  white  lady '  or  '  banshee.' 
To  prevent  this  a  quantity  of  glass  beads  are  put  in 
the  mouth  of  the  corpse,  a  hen's  egg  is  put  under 
each  arm-pit,  and  needles  are  placed  in  the  palms  of 
the  hands.  It  is  believed  that  if  this  is  done  the 
dead  woman  cannot  become  a  langsuyar,  as  she 
cannot  open  her  mouth  to  shriek  (ngilai)  or  wave 
her  arms  as  wings,  or  open  and  shut  her  hands  to 
assist  her  flight. ": 

The  superstitions  about  the  Langsuir,  however, 
do  not  end  here,  for  with  regard  to  its  origin  the 
Selangor  Malays  tell  the  following  story  : — 

The  original  Langsuir  (whose  embodiment  is 
supposed  to  be  a  kind  of  night-owl)  is  described  as 
being  a  woman  of  dazzling  beauty,  who  died  from  the 
shock  of  hearing  that  her  child  was  stillborn,  and  had 
taken  the  shape  of  the  Pontianak.8  On  hearing  this 

1  Swett.,  Mai.   Sketches,   pp.    198,       elfin  children." — Swett. ,  Mai.  Sketches, 
199.  p.  198. 

2  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,   No.    7,    p.    28.  3  '  'Pontianak  "appears  to  be  synony- 
Cp.  "  Langsuior,  the  female  familiar,  mous  with  "  Mati-anak,"  which  may 
differs  hardly  at  all  from  the  bdjang,  perhaps   be   a   shorter   form  of  Matt 
except  that  she  is  a  little  more  baneful,  bfranak    ("stillborn");     indeed,    one 
and  when  under  the  control  of  a  man  of  the  charms  against  the  Pontianak 
he  sometimes  becomes  the  victim  of  her  which  I  collected,  commenced  with  the 
attractions,  and  she  will  even  bear  him  words,  "Pontianak  matt  bfranak." 


terrible  news,  she  "clapped  her  hands,"  and  without 
further  warning  "  flew  whinnying  away  to  a  tree, 
upon  which  she  perched."  She  may  be  known  by 
her  robe  of  green,  by  her  tapering  nails  of  extraordinary 
length  (a  mark  of  beauty),  and  by  the  long  jet  black 
tresses  which  she  allows  to  fall  down  to  her  ankles- 
only,  alas !  (for  the  truth  must  be  told)  in  order  to 
conceal  the  hole  in  the  back  of  her  neck  through  which 
she  sucks  the  blood  of  children  !  These  vampire-like 
proclivities  of  hers  may,  however,  be  successfully  com- 
bated if  the  right  means  are  adopted,  for  if  you  are 
able  to  catch  her,  cut  short  her  nails  and  luxuriant 
tresses,  and  stuff  them  into  the  hole  in  her  neck,  she 
will  become  tame  and  indistinguishable  from  an  ordi- 
nary woman,  remaining  so  for  years.  Cases  have  been 
known,  indeed,  in  which  she  has  become  a  wife  and 
a  mother,  until  she  was  allowed  to  dance  at  a  village 
merry-making,  when  she  at  once  reverted  to  her 
ghostly  form,  and  flew  off  into  the  dark  and  gloomy 
forest  from  whence  she  came. 

In  their  wild  state,  a  Malay  once  informed  me, 
these  woman-vampires  are  exceedingly  fond  of  fish, 
and  once  and  again  may  be  seen  "sitting  in  crowds 
on  the  fishing -stakes  at  the  river  mouth  awaiting 
an  opportunity  to  steal  the  fish."  However  that  may 
be,  it  seems  curiously  in  keeping  with  the  following 
charm  for  "  laying  "  a  Langsuir  : — 

"  O  ye  mosquito-fry  at  the  river's  mouth 
When  yet  a  great  way  off,  ye  are  sharp  of  eye, 
When  near,  ye  are  hard  of  heart. 
When  the  rock  in  the  ground  opens  of  itself 
Then  (and  then  only)  be  emboldened  the  hearts  of  my  foes  and 

opponents ! 

When  the  corpse  in  the  ground  opens  of  itself 
Then  (and  then  only)  be  emboldened  the  hearts  of  my  foes  and 
opponents ! 


Models  of  the  Penanggalan  and  Langsuir,  the  former  being  the  head  on  the  left. 
Note  the  length  of  the  Langsuir  s  nails. 

Page  326. 


May  your  heart  be  softened  when  you  behold  me, 
By  grace  of  this  prayer  that  I  use,  called  Silam  Bayu." 

The  "  mosquito-fry  at  the  river's  mouth  "  in  the  first 
line  is  no  doubt  intended  as  an  allusion  to  the  Lang- 
suir  who  frequent  the  fishing-stakes. 

The  Pontianak  (or  Mati-anak),  as  has  already  been 
said,  is  the  stillborn  child  of  the  Langsuir,  and  its 
embodiment  is  like  that  of  its  mother,  a  kind  of  night- 
owl.1  Curiously  enough,  it  appears  to  be  the  only  one 
of  these  spirits  which  rises  to  the  dignity  of  being 
addressed  as  a  "  Jin  "  or  "  Genie,"  as  appears  from  the 
charms  which  are  used  for  laying  it.  Thus  we  find  in 
a  common  charm  :— 

"  O  Pontianak  the  Stillborn, 

May  you  be  struck  dead  by  the  soil  from  the  grave-mound. 
Thus  (we)  cut  the  bamboo-joints,  the  long  and  the  short, 
To  cook  therein  the  liver  of  the  Jin  (Demon)  Pontianak. 
By  the  grace  of  'There  is  no  god  but  God,' "  etc. 

To  prevent  a  stillborn  child  from  becoming  a  Ponti- 
anak the  corpse  is  treated  in  the  same  way  as  that  of 
the  mother,  i.e.  a  hen's  egg  is  put  under  each  armpit, 
a  needle  in  the  palm  of  each  hand,  and  (probably)  glass 
beads  or  some  simple  equivalent  in  its  mouth.  The 
charm  which  is  used  on  this  occasion  will  be  found  in 
the  Appendix. 

The  Penanggalan  is  a  sort  of  monstrous  vampire 
which  delights  in  sucking  the  blood  of  children.  The 
story  goes  that  once  upon  a  time  a  woman  was  sitting, 
to  perform  a  religious  penance  (dudok  bertapa),  in  one 
of  the  large  wooden  vats  which  are  used  by  the  Malays 
for  holding  the  vinegar  made  by  drawing  off  the  sap 

1  Mr.  Clifford  (of  Pahang),  however,  beast  noises  round  the  graves  of  chil- 
speaks  of  "that  weird  little  white  dren."  —  In  Court  and  Kampong,  p. 
animal,  the  Mati-&nak,  that  makes  231. 




of  the  thatch-palm  (menyadap  nipaJi],  Quite  unex- 
pectedly a  man  came  in,  and  finding  her  sitting  in  the 
vat,  asked  her,  "  What  are  you  doing  there  ? "  To 
this  the  woman  replied,  "What  business  have  you  to 
ask  ? "  but  being  very  much  startled  she  attempted  to 
escape,  and  in  the  excitement  of  the  moment,  kicked 
her  own  chin  with  such  force  that  the  skin  split  round 
her  neck,  and  her  head  (with  the  sac  of  the  stomach 
depending  from  it)  actually  became  separated  from  the 
trunk,  and  flew  off  to  perch  upon  the  nearest  tree. 
Ever  since  then  she  has  existed  as  a  spirit  of  evil, 
sitting  on  the  roof-tree  whinnying  (mengilai)  whenever 
a  child  is  born  in  the  house,  or  trying  to  force  her  way 
up  through  the  floor  on  which  the  child  lies,  in  order 
to  drink  its  blood.1 

The  only  two  spirits  of  this  class  which  now  re- 
main are  the  Polong  and  the  Pelesit,  and  these, 
as  I  have  said,  partake  to  a  great  extent  of  the  charac- 

1  Cp.,  however,  "The  Penangal, 
that  horrible  wraith  of  a  woman  who 
has  died  in  childbirth,  and  who  comes 
to  torment  small  children  in  the  guise 
of  a  fearful  face  and  bust,  with  many 
feet  of  bloody,  trailing  entrails  in  her 
wake."— Clifford,  loc.  tit. 

"He  (Mr.  M.)  said,  'Very  well 
then,  tell  me  about  the  penanggalan 
only,  I  should  like  to  hear  it  and  to 
write  it  down  in  English  so  that  Euro- 
peans may  know  how  foolish  those 
persons  are  who  believe  in  such  things." 
I  then  drew  a  picture  representing  a 
woman's  head  and  neck  only,  with  the 
intestines  hanging  down.  Mr.  M. 
caused  this  to  be  engraved  on  wood  by 
a  Chinese,  and  inserted  it  with  the 
story  belonging  to  it  in  a  publication 
called  the  Anglo-Chinese  Gleaner.  And 
I  said,  '  Sir,  listen  to  the  account  of 
the  penanggalan.  It  was  originally  a 
woman.  She  used  the  magic  arts  of  a 
devil  in  whom  she  believed,  and  she 
devoted  herself  to  his  service  night  and 

day  until  the  period  of  her  agreement 
with  her  teacher  had  expired  and  she 
was  able  to  fly.  Her  head  and  neck 
were  then  loosened  from  the  body,  the 
intestines  being  attached  to  them,  and 
hanging  down  in  strings.  The  body 
remained  where  it  was.  Wherever  the 
person  whom  it  was  wished  to  injure 
happened  to  live,  thither  flew  the  head 
and  bowels  to  suck  his  blood,  and  the 
person  whose  blood  was  sucked  was 
sure  to  die.  If  the  blood  and  water 
which  dripped  from  the  intestines 
touched  any  person,  serious  illness 
immediately  followed  and  his  body 
broke  out  in  open  sores.  The  penang- 
galan likes  to  suck  the  blood  of  women 
in  childbirth.  For  this  reason  it  is 
customary  at  all  houses  where  a  birth 
occurs  to  hang  upjeruju 1  leaves  at  the 
doors  and  windows,  or  to  place  thorns 
wherever  there  is  any  blood,  lest  the 
penanggalan  should  come  and  suck  it, 

1  A  kind  of  thistle. 



ter  of  familiar  spirits  or  bottle  imps,  and  are  by  no 
means  confined  to  a  single  "  role "  as  the  preceding 
ones  have  been. 

The  Polong  resembles  an  exceedingly  diminu- 
tive female  figure  or  mannikin,  being  in  point  of  size 
about  as  big  as  the  top  joint  of  the  little  finger.  It 
will  fly  through  the  air  to  wherever  it  is  told  to 
go,  but  is  always  preceded  by  its  pet  or  plaything 
(p$mainan),  the  Pelesit,  which,  as  has  already  been 
said,  appears  to  be  a  species  of  house-cricket.  When- 
ever the  Polong  wishes  to  enter  (di-rasoki}  a  new 
victim,  it  sends  the  Pelesit  on  before  it,  and  as  soon  as 
the  latter,  "  flying  in  a  headlong  fashion  (menelentang 
m$nj$rongkong)"  has  entered  its  victim's  body,  which 
it  usually  does  tozY-foremost,  and  begins  to  chirp,  the 
Polong  follows.  It  is  generally  hidden  away  outside 
the  house  by  its  owner  (Jinjangan),  and  fed  with 
blood  pricked  from  the  finger.  The  description  usually 
given  of  a  Polong  tallies  curiously  with  the  Malay 
definition  of  the  soul.1 

The   last  of  these  spirits,  the    Pelesit  (or  house- 

for  the  penanggalan  has,  it  seems,  a  many  people  who  have  seen  the  penang- 
dread  of  thorns  in  which  her  intestines  galan  flying  along  with  its  entrails  dan- 
may  happen  to  get  caught.  It  is  said  gling  down  and  shining  at  night  like 
that  a  penanggalan  once  came  to  a  fire-flies. 

man's  house  in  the  middle  of  the  night  "  'Such  is  the  story  of  the penang- 
to  suck  his  blood,  and  her  intestines  galan  as  I  have  heard  it  from  my  fore- 
were  caught  in  some  thorns  near  the  fathers  but  I  do  not  believe  it  in  the 
hedge,  and  she  had  to  remain  there  least.  God  forbid  that  I  should.'" — 
until  daylight,  when  the  people  saw  Hikayat  Abdullah,  p.  143. 
and  killed  her.  1  "  The  origin  of  the  Polong  is  this  : 
"  '  The  person  who  has  the  power  of  — The  blood  of  a  murdered  man  must 
becoming  a  penanggalan  always  keeps  be  taken  and  placed  in  a  bottle  (buK- 
at  her  house  a  quantity  of  vinegar  in  a  bttli,  a  bottle  having  a  spherical  or  wide 
jar  or  vessel  of  some  kind.  The  use  body  and  a  long  narrow  neck).  Then 
of  this  is  to  soak  the  intestines  in,  for  prayers  are  said  over  it,  and  something 
when  they  issue  forth  from  the  body  or  other  is  read,  I  don't  know  what,  but 
they  immediately  swell  up  and  cannot  it  has  to  be  learnt.  After  seven  days 
be  put  back,  but  after  being  soaked  in  of  this  worship,  according  to  some 
vinegar  they  shrink  to  their  former  size  people,  or  after  twice  seven  days  ac- 
and  enter  the  body  again.  There  are  cording  to  others,  a  sound  is  heard  in 




cricket  ?),  which  is  the  Polong's  "  plaything "  or  pet, 
flies  to  and  fro  (rasok  sini,  rasok  sana)  till  it  finds  the 
body  which  its  mistress  has  ordered  it  to  enter,  harm 
only  being  done  when  it  enters  tail-foremost,  as  it 
generally  does.  It  is  occasionally  caught  and  kept  in 
a  bottle  by  Malay  women,  who  feed  it  either  on 
parched  or  saffron-stained  rice,  or  on  blood  drawn 
from  the  tip  of  the  fourth  finger  which  they  prick  for 
the  purpose,  and  who,  when  they  wish  to  get  rid  of  it, 
bury  it  in  the  ground.  When  a  sick  person  is  affected 
by  a  Pelesit  (one  of  the  signs  of  which  is  to  rave  about 
cats)1  the  medicine -man  comes  and  addresses  the 

the  bottle  like  the  chirping  of  young 
birds.  The  operator  then  cuts  his 
finger  and  inserts  it  into  the  bottle  and 
the  Polong  sucks  it.  The  person  who 
thus  supports  the  Polong  is  called  his 
father,  or,  if  it  happens  to  be  a  woman, 
she  is  his  mother.  Every  day  the 
parent  feeds  it  with  his  (or  her)  blood. 
The  object  of  doing  this  and  the  ad- 
vantage to  be  gained  from  it  are  these  : 
— if  he  entertains  a  feeling  of  anger 
against  any  one  he  orders  the  Polong 
to  go  and  afflict  him,  that  is  to  say,  to 
cause  him  pain  or  sickness  ;  or  if  a 
third  person  is  at  enmity  with  another 
he  goes  in  secret  to  the  person  who 
keeps  the  Polong,  and  gives  him  a  sum 
of  money  to  send  the  Polong  to  attack 
the  person  against  whom  he  bears  ill- 
will.  This  is  the  use  of  it.  The 
person  who  is  tormented  by  the  Polong, 
whether  a  virgin,  or  a  married  woman, 
or  a  man,  cries  out  and  loses  conscious- 
ness of  what  he  (or  she)  is  doing,  and 
tears  and  throws  off  his  (or  her)  cloth- 
ing, biting  and  striking  the  people 
near,  blind  and  deaf  to  everything,  and 
does  all  sorts  of  other  things.  Wise 
men  are  called  in  to  prescribe  remedies ; 
some  come  and  chant  formulas  over  the 
head  of  the  patient,  others  pinch  his 
thumb  and  apply  medicines  to  it.  When 
the  remedy  is  successful  the  sick  person 
cries  out,  '  Let  me  go,  I  want  to  go 
home. '  The  doctor  replies,  '  I  will 
not  let  you  go  if  you  do  not  make 

known  who  it  is  that  has  sent  you  here, 
and  why  you  have  come,  and  who  are 
your  father  and  mother.'  Sometimes 
he  (the  Polong  in  the  patient)  remains 
silent  and  will  not  confess  or  give  the 
names  of  his  parents  ;  sometimes  he 
confesses,  and  says  '  Let  me  go,  my 
father  is  such-a-one  and  lives  at  such- 
and-such  a  kampong,  and  my  mother  is 
so-and-so.  The  reason  that  I  have 
come  here  is  that  such-a-one  came  to 
my  parents  and  asked  for  their  aid,  and 
gave  them  a  sum  of  money  because  he 
bore  ill-will  against  this  person '  (or 
whatever  the  reason  may  have  been). 
Sometimes  he  makes  a  false  statement, 
and  mentions  entirely  wrong  persons  in 
order  to  conceal  the  names  of  his 
parents.  As  soon  as  the  people  know 
the  name  of  the  person  who  has  con- 
trived the  attack  and  the  reason,  they 
let  him  go,  and  the  sick  person  at  once 
recovers  his  consciousness,  but  he  is 
left  weak  and  feeble.  When  a  Polong 
attacks  a  person  and  will  confess  no- 
thing, the  person  who  is  attacked 
shrieks  and  yells  in  anger,  and  after  a 
day  or  two  he  dies.  After  death  blood 
pours  forth  bubbling  (ber-kopak-kopaK) 
from  the  mouth,  and  the  whole  body  is 
blue  with  bruises. ' ' — Hikayat  Abdullah, 
p.  143.  Notes  and  Queries,  6".  B. R.  A.S. 
No.  4,  sec.  98,  issued  with  No.  17  of 
the  Journal. 

1  Merepet  kata  kuching. 



Pe'le'sit  (or  Polong  ?),  which  has  taken  up  its  residence 
in  the  patient's  body,  with  the  words :  "  Who  is  your 
mother?"  To  this  question  the  Pe'le'sit  replies, 
speaking  with  the  patient's  voice,  but  in  a  high  falsetto 
key,  and  giving  the  name  of  the  person  who  sent  it, 
whereupon  prompt  measures  are  taken  to  compel  the 
owner  to  recall  it.  It  now  only  remains  to  describe 
the  means  employed  by  the  Malays  to  secure  one  of 
these  familiar  spirits,  which  can  be  guaranteed  to  cause 
the  greatest  possible  annoyance  to  your  enemy,  with 
the  least  possible  trouble  on  your  own  part. 

Receipt  for  securing  a  PZlZsit 

"  Go  to  the  graveyard  at  night  and  dig  up  the 
body  of  a  first-born  child  whose  mother  was  also  first- 
born, and  which  has  been  dead  less  than  forty  days. 
On  digging  it  up,  carry  it  out  to  an  ant-hill  in  the  open 
ground, ^and  there  dandle  it  (di-timang).  After  a  little 
while,  when  the  child  shrieks  and  lolls  its  tongue  out 
(terjelir  lidah-nya),  bite  off  its  tongue  and  carry  it  home. 
Then  obtain  a  cocoa-nut  shell  from  a  solitary  '  green  ' 
cocoa-nut  palm  (niyor  hijaii},  and  carry  it  to  a  place 
where  Three  Roads  Meet,  light  a  fire  and  heat  the 
shell  till  oil  exudes,  dip  the  child's  tongue  in  the  oil, 
and  bury  it  in  the  heart  of  the  three  cross  roads  (hati 
sempang  tiga).  Leave  it  untouched  for  three  nights, 
then  dig  it  up  and  you  will  find  that  it  has  turned  into 

1  Cp.  Clifford,  In  Court  and  Kant-  the  other  day,  eulogising  the  advantage 

fongi    PP-    230-244.       "  PSlong  and  of  possessing  a  familiar  spirit  (she  said 

ptlsit  are  but  other  names  for  bdjang,  that,  amongst  other  things,  it  gave  her 

the  latter  is  chiefly  used  in  the  state  absolute  control  over  her  husband  and 

of  Kedah,  where  it  is  considered  rather  the    power   of  annoying   people  who 

chic  to  have  a  pflrit.     A  Kedah  lady  offended     her),     thus    described     the 





In  or  about  the  seventh  month  of  pregnancy 
(mengandong  tujoh  bulan}  a  "Bidan"1  (sage  femme)  is 
engaged  (menempah\  the  ceremony  being  described  as 
follows : — 

A  copper  vessel  called  cherana  (which  is  some- 
thing like  a  fruit-dish  with  a  stand  or  foot  to  it)  is 
filled  with  four  or  five  peeled  areca-nuts,  a  small  block 
of  gambier,  a  portion  of  lime  (kapor  sa-per kapor  an), 
a  "tahil"  (sa-tahil]  of  tobacco,  and  three  or  four 
packets  (susun)  of  betel-leaf,  and  carried  to  the 
Bidan's  house,  where  it  is  presented  to  her  with  the 
words,  "  I  wish  to  engage  you  for  my  child  "  (Ini  'ku 
mahu  menempah  anak  'ku),  or  words  to  that  effect.2 

Usually  the  contents  of  the  cherana  are  enclosed 

method      of      securing      this      useful 
ally  :— 

"  « You  go  out,'  she  said,  '  on  the 
night  before  the  full  moon,  and  stand 
with  your  back  to  the  moon,  and  your 
face  to  an  ant-hill,  so  that  your  shadow 
falls  on  the  ant-hill.  Then  you  recite 
certain  jampi  (incantations),  and  bend- 
ing forward  try  to  embrace  your  shadow. 
If  you  fail,  try  again  several  times, 
repeating  more  incantations.  If  not 
successful,  go  the  next  night  and  make  a 
further  effort,  and  the  night  after,  if 
necessary — three  nights  in  all.  If  you 
cannot  then  catch  your  shadow,  wait 
till  the  same  day  on  the  following 
month  and  renew  the  attempt.  Sooner 
or  later  you  will  succeed,  and,  as  you 
stand  there  in  the  brilliance  of  the 
moonlight,  you  will  see  that  you  have 
drawn  your  shadow  into  yourself,  and 
your  body  will  never  again  cast  a  shade. 
Go  home,  and  in  the  night,  whether 
sleeping  or  waking,  the  form  of  a  child 
will  appear  before  you  and  put  out  its 
tongue ;  that  seize,  and  it  will  remain 
while  the  rest  of  the  child  disappears. 

In  a  little  while  the  tongue  will  turn 
into  something  that  breathes,  a  small 
animal,  reptile,  or  insect,  and  when  you 
see  the  creature  has  life  put  it  in  a  bottle 
and  \hepelsit  is  yours.' 

"  It  sounds  easy  enough,  and  one  is 
not  surprised  to  hear  that  every  one  in 
Kedah,  who  is  anybody,  keeps  a p?lsit." 
Swett.,  Malay  Sketches,  pp.  197,  198. 

1  No  less  than  seven  "  Bidans,"  it  is 
said,  were  formerly  requisitioned  at  the 
birth  of  a  Raja's  child,  and  occasions 
when  even  nine  are  mentioned  are  to 
be  met  with  in  Malay  romances.     The 
most  general  custom,  however,  seems 
to  have  been  to  summon  seven  "Bidans" 
only,   the  number  being  possibly  due 
to  the   Malay    theory   of  a   sevenfold 
soul  (v.  Soul).     The  profession  was  an 
honourable  one,  and  the  Bidans  received 
the  title    of   "  Dato '   (abbreviated    to 
'Toh)  Bidan  " ;  but  if  the  child  of  a  Raja 
happened  to  die,  the  Bidan  who  was 
adjudged   to  be  responsible   paid   the 
penalty  with  her  life. 

2  Vide  also  N.  &*  Q.  No.  3,  sec.  65, 
issued  with/../?.^.^.,  S.£.,  No.  16. 


in  small  brass  receptacles,  but  on  such  occasions  as  the 
present  no  receptacles  are  used,  the  usual  accessories 
of  the  betel-chewing  ceremony  being  deposited  in 
the  chtrana  itself.  The  Bidan,  on  receiving  the 
cherana,  and  charming  the  contents,  inverts  it,  pour- 
ing out  (di-chorahkan)  its  contents  upon  the  floor,  and 
taking  omens  for  the  coming  event  from  the  manner 
in  which  they  fall.1  She  then  commences  to  chew  the 
betel-leaf,  and  when  she  has  taken  as  much  as  she 
requires,  she  generally  performs  some  species  of 
divination  (tengd  dalam  petua)  in  order  to  ascertain 
the  nature  of  the  child's  horoscope.  This  object  may 
be  achieved  in  several  ways ;  e.g.  by  astrological 
calculations ;  by  casting  up  (palak  or  falakiak)  the 
numerical  values  of  the  letters  of  both  parents'  names, 
in  accordance  with  the  abjad,  or  secret  cipher 
alphabet ; 2  by  observance  of  a  wax  taper  fixed  upon 
the  brim  of  a  jar  of  water  (dian  di  tepi  buyong  ayer) ; 
and  by  observance  of  a  cup  of  "  betel-leaf  water  "  (ayer 

When  the  time  arrives  the  Bidan  is  sent  for  and 
escorted  to  the  spot,  where  she  points  out  the  luckiest 
place  in  the  house  for  the  child  to  be  born.  Such  a 
spot  must  not  be  under  the  ends  of  the  slats  of  the 
palm-thatch,  but  between  them,  the  exact  spot  being 
discovered  by  repeatedly  dropping  the  blade  of  a 
hatchet  or  cutlass  haft  downwards  into  the  ground 
below  the  raised  floor  of  the  house,  until  a  spot  is 
found  wherein  it  sticks  and  remains  upright.  A  rattan 
loop  (tali  anggas)  to  enable  the  patient  to  raise  herself 
to  a  sitting  posture,  is  suspended  from  the  rafters  over 

1  If  the   betel-leaf  adheres   to   the  *    Vide  p.  551,  infra, 

chfrana  it  is  a  bad  sign  (uri  mtttkat          3   Vide  App.  clxxxiv. 

tiada  mahu  k'luar). 


the  spot  selected,1  while  just  exactly  beneath  it  under 
the  floor  of  the  house  (which  is  raised  on  piles  like 
the  old  Swiss  lake-dwellings)  are  fastened  a  bunch  of 
leaves  of  the  prickly  pandanus,  the  "  acid  "  egg-plant,2 
and  a  lekar  jantan,  which  is  a  kind  of  rattan  stand 
used  for  Malay  cooking-pots.  The  leaves  of  these 
plants  are  used  because  it  is  thought  that  their  thorns 
will  prick  any  evil  spirit3  which  tries  to  get  at  the  child 
from  below,  whilst  the  circular  cooking-pot  stand  will 
act  as  a  noose  or  snare.  Over  the  patient's  head,  and 
just  under  the  rafters,  is  spread  a  casting-net  (Jala), 
together  with  a  bunch  of  leaves  of  the  red  dracsena 
(jenjuangor  lenjuang merati)  and  the  "acid"  egg-plant.4 

A  big  tray  (talam)  is  now  filled  with  a  measure  of 
uncooked  husked  rice  (tiras  sa-gantang),  and  covered 
over  with  a  small  mat  of  screw-palm  leaves  (tikar 
mengkuang}.  This  mat  is  in  turn  covered  with  from 
three  to  seven  thicknesses  of  fine  Malay  sarongs  (a 
sort  of  broad  plaid  worn  as  a  skirt),  and  these  latter 
again  are  surmounted  by  a  second  mat  upon  which 
the  newly-born  infant  is  to  be  deposited. 

The  next  process  is  the  purification  of  mother  and 
child  by  a  ceremony  which  consists  of  bathing  both  in 
warm  water  just  not  hot  enough  to  scald  the  skin  (ayer 
pesam-pesam  jangan  melochak  kulif),  and  in  which  are 

1  So,  too,  in  the  report  of  the  Dutch  and  can  be  punished   by  having  her 
Expedition  to  Mid-Sumatra,  vol.  i.  p.  stomach  filled  up  with  ground  glass  and 
266,  it  is  stated  that  delivery  took  place  sherds  of  earthenware,  which  will  kill 
"  in  a  sitting  posture."  her  in  about  seven  days'  time  ! 

2  T'rong asam.  4  When  the  "sickness"  is  severe, 

3  One  account  says  that  the  Penang-  the  Bidan  draws  upon  her  almost  in- 
galan  (or  Manjang,  i.e.   Pemanjangan  exhaustible  stock  of  Malay  charms,  a 
another  name  for  her)  if  she  comes  will  specimen  of  which  will  be  found  in  the 
be  caught  in  this  snare,  and  that  next  Appendix.     Salt  and  asam  are   taken 
morning  when  the  fowls  are  let  loose  (apparently   by  the   Bidan  ?)    into  the 
out  of  the  fowl-house  they  will  peck  at  mouth  (di-k?mam  asam  garani)  while 
the  sac  of  her  stomach  to  get  at  its  the  selected  charm  is  repeated, 
contents.     Thus  she  will  be  detected, 


leaves  of  Itfngkuas,  kalia,  kimyit  frus,  kunyit,  pandan 
bau,  areca-palm  blossom,  and  the  dried  leaves  (k$ron- 
song  or  kZresek)  of  the  pisang  Klat.  This  has  to  be 
repeated  (every?)  morning  and  evening.  In  most 
places  the  new-born  infant  is,  as  has  been  said,  laid 
upon  a  mat  and  formally  adopted  by  the  father,  who 
breathes  into  the  child's  ear 1  a  sort  of  Muhammadan 
prayer  or  formula,  which  is  called  bang  in  the  case 
of  a  boy,  and  kamat  in  the  case  of  a  girl.  After 
purification  the  child  is  swaddled  in  a  sort  of  papoose  ; 
an  inner  bandage  (barut)  is  swathed  round  the  child's 
waist,  and  a  broad  cloth  band  (kain  lampin)  is  wound 
round  its  body  from  the  knees  to  the  breast,  after  which 
the  outer  bandage  (kain  bedong)  is  wound  round  the 
child's  body  from  the  feet  to  the  shoulder,  and  is  worn 
continually  until  the  child  is  three  or  four  months  old, 
or,  in  Malay  parlance,  until  he  has  learned  to  crawl 
(taku  meniarap).  This  contrivance,  it  is  alleged,  pre- 
vents the  child  from  starting  and  straining  its  muscles. 
Over  the  child's  mat  is  suspended  a  sort  of  small 
conical  mosquito-net  (kain  bochok},  the  upper  end  of 
which  is  generally  stitched  (di-semat)  or  pinned  on  to 
the  top  of  the  parent's  mosquito  curtain,  and  which  is 
intended  to  protect  the  child  from  any  stray  mosquito 
or  sandfly  which  may  have  found  its  way  into  the 
bigger  net  used  by  his  parents. 

1   Vide    McNair,    Perak    and     the  (twice),    ashahadun    Muhammad    al- 

Malays,  p.  231.     "  The  children  of  the  Rasul  Allah   (twice),  hei '•AH  al-saleh 

Malays  are  received  into  the  world  quite  (twice),  hei  'Alt  al-faleh  (twice),  Allahu 

in  religious  form,  prayer  being   said,  akbar (twice),  la-ilaha-illa- llah  (twice); 

and    the   Azan   or  Allah  Akbar  pro-  and  the  kamat  as  follows  : — 

nounced   by  the  father   with   his    lips  Allahu  akbar  (twice),  ashahadun  la- 

'.close  to  the  tender  infant's  ear."     The  tiaha-illa-llah,  ashahadun  Muhammad 

bang,    according    to    'Che     Sam,    a  al- Rasul  Allah.     Hei  1AH  al-saleh,  hei 

Malay  pandit  of  Kuala  Lumpor,   ran  'AH  al-faleh,  had  kamat  al-salata(tvt\cz), 

somewhat  as  follows  : — Allahu  Akbar  la-ilaha-illa-' llah. 
(twice),    ashahadun    la-ilaha-illa- llah 


Next  comes  the  ceremony  of  marking  the  forehead 
(chonting  muka),  which  is  supposed  to  keep  the  child 
from  starting  and  straining  itself  (jangan  terkejut  ter- 
kekaii],  and  from  convulsions  (sawan),  and  at  the  same 
time  to  preserve  it  from  evil  spirits.  The  following 
are  the  directions  : — Take  chips  of  wood  from  the  thin 
end  (kapala  ?)  of  the  threshold,  from  the  steps  of  the 
house-ladder,  and  from  the  house  furniture,  together 
with  a  coat  (kesip]  of  garlic,  a  coat  of  an  onion,  assa- 
fcetida,  a  rattan  cooking-pot  stand,  and  fibre  from  the 
"  monkey-face  "  of  an  unfertile  cocoa-nut  (tampo  niyor 
jantan].  Burn  all  these  articles  together,  collect  the 
ashes,  and  mix  them  by  means  of  the  fore-finger  with 
a  little  "  betel- water." 

Now  repeat  the  proper  charm,1  dip  the  finger  in 
the  mixture,  and  mark  the  centre  of  the  child's  fore- 
head, if  a  boy  with  a  sign  resembling  what  is  called  a 
bench  mark  v  ,  if  a  girl  with  a  plain  cross  + ,  and  at  the 
same  time  put  small  daubs  on  the  nose,  cheeks,  chin, 
and  shoulders.  Then  mark  the  mother  with  a  line 
drawn  from  breast  to  breast  (pangkah  susu]  and  a 
daub  on  the  end  of  the  nose  (cholek  hidong\  If  you 
do  this  properly,  a  Langat  Malay  informed  me,  the 
Evil  One  will  take  mother  and  child  for  his  own  wife 
and  child  (who  are  supposed  to  be  similarly  marked) 
and  will  consequently  refrain  from  harming  them ! 

In  addition  to  the  above,  if  the  child  is  a  girl,  her 
eyebrows  are  shaved  and  a  curve  drawn  in  their  place, 
extending  from  the  root  of  the  nose  to  the  ear  (di- 
pantiskan  bentok  taji  deri  muka  sampei  pelipis).  The 
mixture  used  for  marking  these  curves  consists  of 
manjakani  mixed  with  milk  from  the  mother's  breast. 

Another  most  curious  custom  which  recalls  a  parallel 

1    Vide  App.  cl. 


custom  among  North  American  Indians,  is  occa- 
sionally resorted  to  for  the  purpose  of  altering  the 
shape  of  the  child's  head.  When  it  is  considered  too 
long  (tVrlampau panjang],  a  small  tightly-fitting  "yam 
leaf  cap"  (songkd  daun  k'ladi),  consisting  of  seven 
thicknesses  of  calladium  (yam)  leaves  is  used  to  com- 
press it.  This  operation  is  supposed  to  shorten  the 
child's  skull,  and  the  person  who  fits  it  on  to  the  child's 
head  uses  the  words — "  Muhammad,  short  be  your 
head  "  in  the  case  of  a  boy,  and  "  Fatimah,  short  be 
your  head  "  in  the  case  of  a  girl. 

Now  comes  the  ceremony  of  administering  to  the 
infant  what  is  called  the  "  mouth-opener"  (lit.  "  mouth- 
splitter,"  pXmtflah  mulut) ;  first,  you  take  a  green 
cocoa-nut  (niyor  sungkoran),  split  it  in  halves  (di-tf lah 
niyor),  put  a  "  grain  "  of  salt  inside  one-half  of  the  shell 
(di-buboh  garam  sa-buku\  and  give  it  to  the  child  to 
drink,  counting  up  to  seven,  and  putting  it  to  the 
child's  mouth  at  the  word  seven  (letakkan  di  mulut- 
nyd).  Then  repeat  the  ceremony,  substituting  asam 
(tamarinds?)  for  the  salt.  Finally,  take  a  gold  ring, 
and  after  rubbing  it  against  the  inside  of  the  cocoa-nut 
(cholek  di-dalam  niyor),  lay  it  upon  the  child's  lips, 
(letakkan  di  bibir-nya),  saying  "  Bismillah,"  etc.  Do 
the  same  with  a  silver  and  amalgam  (gold  and  silver) 
ring  respectively,  and  the  ceremony  will  be  at  an  end. 

I  may  note,  in  passing,  that  it  is  in  allusion  to  the 
above  ceremony  that  you  will  sometimes  hear  old  men 
say  "  It's  not  the  first  time  I  tasted  salt,  I  did  so  ever 
since  I  was  first  put  into  my  swinging-cot  "  (aku  makan 
garam  dakulu,  deripada  tatkala  naik  buayari). 

Sometimes  a  little  "rock"  sugar  (gula  batu]  is  added 
to  make  the  "  mouth-opener  "  more  palatable. 

From  the  time  when  the  child  is  about  twenty-four 



hours  old  until  it  is  of  the  age  of  three  months,  it  is 
fed  with  rice  boiled  in  a  pot  on  the  fire,  "broken" 
(di-lechek)  by  means  of  a  short  broad  cocoa-nut 
shell  spoon  {pelechefc),  mixed  with  a  little  sugar  and 
squeezed  into  small  receptacles  of  woven  cocoa-nut  leaf 

Later  it  is  taught  to  feed  at  the  breast  (menetek\ 
which  continues  until  it  is  weaned  by  the  application 
of  bitter  aloes  (j'adam)  to  the  mother's  breasts. 

In  the  rice-jar  (buyong  tiras)  during  this  period,  a 
stone,  a  big  iron  nail,  and  a  "  candle-nut "  must  be  kept, 
and  a  spoon  (sendoK)  must  always  be  used  for  putting 
the  rice  into  the  pot  before  boiling  it.  Moreover,  the 
mother,  when  eating  or  drinking,  must  always  cross 
her  left  arm  under  her  breasts  (di-ampu  susu-nya 
di  lengan  kiri]  leaving  the  right  arm  free  to  bring  the 
food  to  the  mouth. 

When  the  child  has  been  bathed,  it  is  fumigated, 
and  deposited  for  the  first  time  in  a  swinging-cot  (the 
Malay  substitute  for  a  cradle)  which,  according  to 
immemorial  custom,  is  formed  by  a  black  cloth  slung 
from  one  of  the  rafters.  To  fumigate1  it  you  take 
leaves  of  the  red  dracsena  {jenjuang  merah],  and  wrap 
them  round  first  with  the  casing  of  the  charred  torch 
{puntong}  used  at  the  severing  of  the  cord  (pembuang 

1  Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley,  Director  of  other  leaves  till  one-third  of  the  liquor 
Gardens  and  Forests  at  Singapore,  in  a  is  evaporated,  and  the  decoction  exposed 
pamphlet  on  Malay  Materia  Medica  to  the  dew  for  a  night,  and  the  child  is 
(dated  1 894)  describes  a  somewhat  bathed  with  it ;  or  a  quantity  of  road- 
similar  ceremony  as  follows  : —  side  rubbish,  dead-leaves,  sticks,  chewed 

' '  When  a  child  suffers  from  sampuh  sugar-cane,  etc.  is  boiled  and  the  child 
pachut,  that  is  to  say,  when  it  persist-  is  bathed  in  the  liquid  (it  is  washed 
ently  cries  and  will  not  take  its  food,  it  afterwards),  and  it  is  then  smoked  over 
is  treated  in  the  following  way  :  the  a  fire  consisting  of  a  nest  of  a  weaver- 
leaves  of  Hedyotis  congesta,  Br. ,  a  tall  bird  (sarang  tampur),  the  skin  of  a 
jungle  weed,  known  as  Lidajin  \lidah  bottle-gourd  (labu),  and  a  piece  of  wood 
jin,  lit.  Demon's  Tongue]  or  Poko1  which  has  been  struck  by  lightning." 
Sampuh  Packut,  are  boiled  with  some 


tali pusat\  then  with  leaves  of  the  frong  asam  ("  acid  " 
egg-plant),  and  tie  them  round  at  intervals  with  a 
string  of  shredded  tree-bark  (tali  t'rap}.  The  funnel- 
shaped  bouquet  thus  formed  is  suspended  above  the 
child's  cot  (buayan) ;  a  spice-block  (batu  giling]  is 
deposited  inside  it,  and  underneath  it  are  placed  the 
naked  blade  of  a  cutlass  {parang  pitting) ,  a  cocoa-nut 
scraper  (kukoran)^  and  one  of  the  basket-work  stands 
used  for  the  cooking-pots  (lekar  jantan\  which  latter 
is  slung  round  the  neck  of  the  cocoa-nut  scraper.  This 
last  strange  contrivance  is,  I  believe,  intended  as  a 
hint  to  the  evil  spirit  or  vampire  which  comes  to  suck 
the  child's  blood,  and  for  whom  the  trap  described 
above  is  set  underneath  the  house-floor. 

Now  get  a  censer  and  burn  incense  in  it,  adding  to 
the  flame,  as  it  burns,  rubbish  from  beneath  a  deserted 
house,  the  deserted  nest  of  a  merbah  (dove),  and 
the  deserted  nest  of  the  "  rain-bird  "  (sarang  burong 
ujan-ujan).  When  all  is  ready,  rock  the  cot  very 
gently  seven  times,  then  take  the  spice-block  out  of 
the  cot  and  deposit  it  together  with  the  blade  of  the 
cutlass  upon  the  ground,  take  the  child  in  your  arms 
and  fumigate  it  by  moving  it  thrice  round  in  a  circle 
over  the  smoke  of  the  censer,  counting  up  to  seven 
as  you  do  so,  and  swing  the  child  gently  towards  your 
left.  At  the  word  "seven"  call  the  child's  soul  by  saying 
"  Cluck,  cluck  !  soul  of  Muhammad  here !  " a  (if  it  is  a 
boy),  or  "  Cluck,  cluck !  soul  of  Fatimah  here  !  "  (if  it  is 
a  girl) ;  deposit  the  child  in  the  cot  and  rock  it  very 
gently,  so  that  it  does  not  swing  farther  than  the  neck 
of  the  cocoa-nut  scraper  extends  (sa-panjang  kukoran 
sa/iaja).  After  this  you  may  swing  it  as  far  as  you 

1  A 'ur,  stmangat  Muhammad  ini  !  Kiir,  sfmangat  Fatimah  ini  ! 


like,  but  for  at  least  seven  days  afterwards,  whenever 
the  child  is  taken  out  of  the  cot,  the  spice-block,  or 
stone-child  (anak  batu]  as  it  is  called,  must  be  deposited 
in  the  cot  as  a  substitute  for  the  child  (pengganti 

Once  in  every  four  hours  the  child  should  be 
bathed  with  cold  water,  in  order  that  it  may  be  kept 
"  cool."  This  custom,  I  was  told,  is  diametrically 
opposite  to  that  which  obtains  at  Malacca,  where  the 
child  is  bathed  as  rarely  as  possible.  The  custom 
followed  in  Selangor  is  said  to  prevent  the  child  from 
getting  a  sore  mouth  (guam). 

For  the  first  two  months  or  so,  whenever  the  child 
is  bathed,  it  is  rubbed  over  with  a  paste  obtained  by 
mixing  powdered  rice  with  the  powder  obtained  from 
a  red  stone  called  batu  kawi.  This  stone,  which  is 
said  by  some  Malays  to  take  its  name  from  the  Island 
of  Langkawi,  is  thought  to  possess  astringent  (klaf] 
qualities,  and  is  used  by  Malay  women  to  improve 
their  skin.  Before  use  the  paste  is  fumigated  with  the 
smoke  of  burning  eagle- wood,  sandal-wood,  and  incense, 
after  which  the  liquid,  which  is  said  to  resemble 
red  ink,  is  applied  to  the  skin,  and  then  washed  off, 
no  doubt,  with  lime-juice  in  the  ordinary  way. 

In  the  cold  water  which  is  used  for  bathing  the 
child  are  deposited  a  big  iron  nail  (as  a  "symbol  of 
iron  "),  "  candle-nuts  "  and  cockle-shells  (kulit  Krang), 
to  which  some  Malays  add  a  kind  of  parasite  called 
si  bernas  (i.e.  Well- Filled  Out,  a  word  applied  to 
children  who  are  fat,  instead  of  the  word  gemok,  which 
is  considered  unlucky)  and  another  parasite  called 
sadingin  or  si  dingin,  the  "  Cold  "  one. 

After  bathing,  the  Bidan  should  perform  the 
ceremony  called  sembor  sirih,  which  consists  in  the 

vi  NAMING  THE  CHILD  341 

ejecting  of  betel-leaf  (mixed  with  other  ingredients) 
out  of  her  mouth  on  to  the  pit  of  the  child's  stomach, 
the  ingredients  being  pounded  leaves  of  the  bunglei, 
chVkor,  and  firangau,  and  chips  of  brazil-wood,  ebony, 
and  sugar- palm  twigs  (sVgar  kabong)  ;  to  these  are 
sometimes  added  small  portions  of  the  "Rough" 
bamboo  (buluh  kasap\  of  the  bemban  balu,  and  of 
the  leaf-cases  of  the  areca-palm  (either  upih  Vlak 
batang  or  upih  sarong], 

The  child  is  generally  named  within  the  first  week, 
but  I  have  not  yet  heard  of  any  special  ceremony  con- 
nected with  the  naming,  though  it  is  most  probably 
considered  as  a  religious  act.  The  name  is  evidently 
considered  of  some  importance,  for  if  the  child  happens 
to  get  ill  directly  after  the  naming,  it  is  sometimes 
re-adopted  (temporarily)  by  a  third  party,  who  gives  it 
a  different  name.  When  this  happens  a  species  of 
bracelets  and  anklets  made  of  black  cloth  are  put  upon 
the  child's  wrists  and  ankles,  the  ceremony  being  called 
tumpang  sayang. 

A  few  days  later  the  child's  head  is  shaved,  and  his 
nails  cut  for  the  first  time.  For  the  former  process  a 
red  lather  is  manufactured  from  fine  rice-flour  mixed 
with  gambier,  lime,  and  betel-leaf.  Some  people  have 
the  child's  head  shaved  clean,  others  leave  the  central 
lock  (jambul}.  In  either  case  the  remains  of  the  red 
lather,  together  with  the  clippings  of  hair  (and  nails  ?) 
are  received  in  a  rolled-up  yam-leaf  (daun  kladi  di- 
ponjuf]  or  cocoa-nut  (?),  and  carried  away  and  deposited 
at  the  foot  of  a  shady  tree,  such  as  a  banana  (or  a 
pomegranate  ?). 

Sometimes  (as  had  been  done  in  the  case  of  a  Malay 
bride  at  whose  "  tonsure "  I  assisted *),  the  parents 

1   Vide  pp.  353-355.  «'»>«• 


make  a  vow  at  a  child's  birth  that  they  will  give  a 
feast  at  the  tonsure  of  its  hair,  just  before  its  marriage, 
provided  the  child  grows  up  in  safety. 

Occasionally  the  ceremony  of  shaving  the  child's 
head  takes  place  on  the  44th  day  after  birth,  the  cere- 
mony being  called  balik  juru.  A  small  sum,  such 
as  $2.00  or  $3.00,  is  also  sometimes  presented  to  a 
pilgrim  to  carry  clippings  of  the  child's  locks  to  Mecca 
and  cast  them  into  the  well  Zemzem,  such  payment 
being  called  'kekah  ('akekati)  in  the  case  of  a  boy, 
and  kerban  in  the  case  of  a  girl.1 

To  return  to  the  mother.  She  is  bathed  in  hot 
water  at  8  o'clock  each  morning  for  three  days,  and 
from  the  day  of  birth  (after  ablution)  she  has  to  under- 
go the  strangest  ceremony  of  all,  "  ascending  the  roast- 
ing-place  "  (naik  saleian].  A  kind  of  rough  couch  is 
prepared  upon  a  small  platform  (saleian},  which  is 
about  six  feet  in  length,  and  slopes  downwards  towards 
the  foot,  where  it  is  about  two  feet  above  the  floor. 
Beneath  this  platform  a  fireplace  or  hearth  (dapor) 2  is 
constructed,  and  a  "  roaring  fire "  lighted,  which  is 

1  Of  the  Pahang  customs  Mr.  Clif-  cents  being  deemed  sufficient  for  each 

ford  writes  : —  subsequent  event." — Clifford,   Studies 

"  Umat  rushes  off  to  the  most  famous  in  Brown  Hum.,  pp.  47,  48. 
midwife  in  the  place,  and  presents  her  2  To  each  corner  of  this  hearth  is 
with  a  little  brass  dish  filled  with  fastened  a  bunch  of  lemon-grass  leaves, 
smooth  green  sirih  leaves,  and  sixpence  each  of  which  is  separately  charmed  by 
of  our  money  (25  cents)  in  copper,  for  ejecting  betel-leaf  upon  it  (di-sembor) ; 
such  is  the  retaining  fee  prescribed  by  at  the  same  time  a  pillow  is  prepared 
Malay  custom.  The  recipient  of  these  for  it  by  the  insertion  of  a  needle  at 
treasures  is  thereafter  held  bound  to  each  end.  The  fire  (apt  saleian)  is 
attend  the  patient  whenever  she  may  be  always  lighted  by  the  Bidan,  and  must 
called  upon  to  do  so,  and  when  the  never  be  allowed  to  go  out  for  the  whole 
confinement  is  over  she  can  claim  other  of  the  44  days.  To  light  it  the  Bidan 
moneys  in  payment  of  her  services.  should  take  a  brand  from  the  house-fire 
These  latter  fees  are  not  ruinously  high,  (api  dapor),  and  when  it  is  once  pro- 
according  to  our  standard,  two  dollars  perly  kindled,  nothing  must  be  cooked 
being  charged  for  attending  a  woman  at  it,  or  the  child  will  suffer.  More- 
in  her  first  confinement,  a  dollar  or  a  over,  whenever  during  this  same  period 
dollar  and  a  half  on  the  next  occasion,  there  happens  to  be  a  hen  sitting  on 
and  twenty-five,  or  at  the  most  fifty  its  eggs  in  the  house,  the  blades  of 


intended  to  warm  the  patient  to  a  degree  consistent 
with  Malay  ideas  of  what  is  beneficial !  Custom, 
which  is  stronger  than  law,  forces  the  patient  to  recline 
upon  this  couch  two  or  three  times  in  the  course  of 
the  day,  and  to  remain  upon  it  each  time  for  an  hour 
or  two.  To  such  extremes  is  this  practice  carried, 
that  "  on  one  occasion  a  poor  woman  was  brought 
to  the  point  of  death  .  .  .  and  would  have  died  if  she 
had  not  been  rescued  by  the  kind  interposition  of  the 
Civil  Assistant  -  Surgeon ;  the  excessive  excitement 
caused  by  the  heat  was  so  overpowering  that  aber- 
ration of  mind  ensued  which  continued  for  several 

As  if  this  were  not  enough,  one  of  the  heated  hearth- 
stones (batu  tungkit)  is  frequently  wrapped  up  in  a 
piece  of  flannel  or  old  rags,  applied  to  the  patient's 
stomach  so  as  to  "roast"  her  still  more  effectually. 
This  "roasting"  custom  is  said  to  continue  for  the 
whole  of  the  forty-four  days  of  uncleanness.  During 
this  period  there  are  many  birth -taboos  (pantang 
beranak]  applying  to  food,  the  following  articles  being 
usually  forbidden:  (i)  things  which  have  (from  the 
Malay  point  of  view)  a  lowering  effect  on  the  con- 
stitution (sagala  yang  sejuk-sejuK],  e.g.  fruits,  with 
some  exceptions,  and  vegetables ;  (2)  things  which 
have  a  heating  effect  on  the  blood  (sagala  yang 
bisa-bisd),  e.g.  the  fish  called  part  (skate),  the  Prickly 
Fish  (ikan  duri\  and  the  sembilang  (a  kind  of  mud- 

weapons,  such  as  daggers  (k'risses)  "  Later,  comes  a  day  when  Selema 
and  spears,  must  not  be  reset  nearly  loses  her  life  by  reason  of  the 
in  their  handles  (m/m&a/au)  either  barbarities  which  Malay  science  con- 
ever  the  hearth-fire  or  the  fire  of  the  siders  necessary  if  a  woman  is  to  win 
saleian.  through  her  confinement  without  mis- 

1  T.  D.  Vaughan  in  vol.  xi.  of  hap."— Clifford,  Stud,  in  Br.  Hum., 

J.I.A.  p.  51. 

Cp.  the  following  passage  : — 


fish  with  poisonous  spines  on  both  sides  and  back), 
and  all  fresh-water  fish  ;  (3)  all  things  which  have  an 
irritating  effect  on  the  skin  (sagala  yang  gatal-gatal), 
e.g.  the  fish  called  tenggiri,  and  terubok,  shell-fish, 
and  the  egg-plant  or  Brinjal,  while  the  fish  called  kurau, 
g  lama,  senahong,  parang-parang  may  be  eaten,  so 
long  as  they  are  well  salted  ;  (4)  things  which  are 
supposed  to  cause  faintness  (sagala  yang  bentan- 
bentan),  or  swooning  (pengsan),  such,  for  instance,  as 
uncooked  cocoa-nut  pulp,  gourds  and  cucumbers ;  (5) 
sugar  (with  the  exception  of  cocoa-nut  sugar),  cocoa- 
nuts,  and  chillies.1 

The  following  description  of  birth  -  taboos  in 
Pahang,  taken  from  Mr.  H.  Clifford's  Studies  in 
Brown  Humanity,  will  give  a  good  general  idea  of 
this  part  of  the  subject : — 

"  When  Umat  has  placed  the  sirih  leaves  he  has 
done  all  he  can  for  Selema,  and  he  resigns  himself 
to  endure  the  anxiety  of  the  next  few  months  with 
the  patience  of  which  he  has  so  much  command. 
The  pantang  ber-dnak,  or  birth-taboos,  hem  a  husband 
in  almost  as  rigidly  as  they  do  his  wife,  and  Umat, 
who  is  as  superstitious  as  are  all  the  Malays  of  the 
lower  classes,  is  filled  with  fear  lest  he  should  unwit- 
tingly transgress  any  law,  the  breach  of  which  might 
cost  Selema  her  life.  He  no  longer  shaves  his  head 
periodically,  as  he  loves  to  do,  for  a  naked  scalp  is 
very  cool  and  comfortable ;  he  does  not  even  cut  his 

1  The  following  methods  are  resorted  paratus,    is  kept;    (b)    the    "rattan" 

to  for  the  curing  of  faintness  :  (a)  the  (rotan  s/gn)   "  cure,"  which  is  said  to 

patient  is  made  to  smell  (di-isapkan],  consist  in  charring  the  end  of  a  piece  of 

first  with  one  and  then  with  the  other  rattan  (rotan   s/ga),  taking  the  burnt 

nostril,  the  bottom  of  the  copper    (or  end  in   the   mouth,   and  blowing   the 

brass)  receptacle  (pekaporan]  in  which  smoke   into  the  patient's   ear  (di-em- 

the  lime,  which  is  one  of  the  invariable  buskan). 
concomitants  of  the  betel-chewing  ap- 

vi  BIRTH  TABOOS  345 

hair,  and  a  thick  black  shock  stands  five  inches  high 
upon  his  head,  and  tumbles  raggedly  about  his  neck 
and  ears.  Se^Sma  is  his  first  wife,  and  never  before 
has  she  borne  children,  wherefore  no  hair  of  her 
husband's  must  be  trimmed  until  her  days  are  ac- 
complished. Umat  will  not  kill  the  fowls  for  the 
cook  now,  nor  even  drive  a  stray  dog  from  the  com- 
pound with  violence,  lest  he  should  chance  to  maim 
it,  for  he  must  shed  no  blood,  and  must  do  no  hurt 
to  any  living  thing  during  all  this  time.  One  day 
he  is  sent  on  an  errand  up-river  and  is  absent  until 
the  third  day.  On  inquiry  it  appears  that  he  passed 
the  night  in  a  friend's  house,  and  on  the  morrow 
found  that  the  wife  of  his  host  was  shortly  expecting 
to  become  a  mother.  Therefore  he  had  to  remain 
at  least  two  nights  in  the  village.  Why?  Because 
if  he  failed  to  do  so,  Selema  would  die.  Why  would 
she  die  ?  God  alone  knows,  but  such  is  the  teaching 
of  the  men  of  old,  the  wise  ones  of  ancient  days. 
But  Umat's  chief  privation  is  that  he  is  forbidden 
to  sit  in  the  doorway  of  his  house.  To  understand 
what  this  means  to  a  Malay,  you  must  realise  that 
the  seat  in  the  doorway,  at  the  head  of  the  stair- 
ladder  that  reaches  to  the  ground,  is  to  him  much 
what  the  fireside  is  to  the  English  peasant.  It  is 
here  that  he  sits  and  looks  out  patiently  at  life,  as 
the  European  gazes  into  the  heart  of  the  fire.  It  is 
here  that  his  neighbours  come  to  gossip  with  him, 
and  it  is  in  the  doorway  of  his  own  or  his  friend's  house 
that  the  echo  of  the  world  is  borne  to  his  ears.  But, 
while  Selema  is  ill,  Umat  may  not  block  the  doorway, 
or  dreadful  consequences  will  ensue,  and  though  he 
appreciates  this  and  makes  the  sacrifice  readily  for  his 
wife's  sake,  it  takes  much  of  the  comfort  out  of  his  life. 


"  Selema,  meanwhile,  has  to  be  equally  circum- 
spect. She  bridles  her  woman's  tongue  resolutely, 
and  no  word  in  disparagement  of  man  or  beast  passes 
her  lips  during  all  these  months,  for  she  has  no 
desire  to  see  the  qualities  she  dislikes  reproduced  in 
the  child.  She  is  often  tired  to  death  and  faint  and 
ill  before  her  hour  draws  nigh,  but  none  the  less  she 
will  not  lie  upon  her  mat  during  the  daytime  lest 
her  heavy  eyes  should  close  in  sleep,  since  her  child 
would  surely  fall  a  prey  to  evil  spirits  were  she  to 
do  so.  Therefore  she  fights  on  to  the  dusk,  and 
Umat  does  all  he  can  to  comfort  her  and  to  lighten 
her  sufferings  by  constant  tenderness  and  care."  * 

The  medicine  (sambaran  bara),  used  by  the 
mother  after  her  confinement,  consists  of  the  ashes  of 
a  burnt  cocoa-nut  shell  pounded  and  mixed  with  a 
pinch  of  black  pepper  (lada  hitam  sa-jimput\  a  root 
of  garlic  (bawang  puteh  sa-labuti),  and  enough  vinegar 
to  make  the  mixture  liquid.  This  potion  is  drunk  for 
three  consecutive  mornings.  A  bandage  is  swathed 
about  her  waist,  and  she  is  treated  with  a  cosmetic 
(bedafc)  manufactured  from  temu  kuning,  which  is 
pounded  small  (and  mixed  as  before  with  garlic, 
black  pepper,  and  vinegar),  and  applied  every  morn- 
ing and  evening  for  the  first  three  days.  During  the 
next  three  days  a  new  cosmetic  (bedak  kunyit  t'rus) 
is  applied,  the  ingredients  being  kunyit  frus  pounded 
and  mixed  in  the  same  way  as  the  cosmetic  just 

At  the  same  time  the  patient  is  given  a  potion 
made  from  the  ash  of  burnt  durian  skins  (abu 
kulit  durian),  mixed  as  before  with  vinegar ;  the  fruit- 

1  Clifford,  Stud,  in  Brown  Hum,,  pp.  48-50. 


stalk,  or  "spire,"  of  a  cocoa-nut  palm  (manggar  niyor) 
being  substituted  if  the  durian  skin  is  not  obtainable. 

A  poultice  (iibat  pupok}  is  also  applied  to  the 
patient's  forehead,  after  the  early  bathing,  during  the 
"forty-four  days"  of  her  retirement;  it  consists  of 
leaves  of  the  tahi  babi,  jintan  hitam,  and  garlic, 
pounded  and  mixed  as  usual  with  vinegar. 

After  three  days  an  extraordinary  mixture,  called 
in  Selangor  the  "  Hundred  Herbs  "  (rempah  'ratus\ 
but  in  Malacca  merely  "  Pot-herbs  "  (rempah  firioK), 
is  concocted  from  all  kinds  of  herbs,  roots,  and  spices. 
The  ingredients  are  put  into  a  large  vessel  of  water 
and  left  to  soak,  a  portion  of  the  liquor  being  strained 
off  and  given  to  the  patient  as  a  potion  every  morning 
for  about  ten  days.  Similar  ingredients  boiled  in  a 
large  pot,  which  is  kept  hot  by  being  hermetically 
sealed  (di-getang),  and  by  having  live  embers  placed 
underneath  it  from  time  to  time,  furnish  the  regular 
beverage  of  the  patient  up  to  the  time  of  her  puri- 
fication. After  the  first  fortnight,  however,  the  lees 
are  extracted  from  the  vessel  and  used  to  compose 
a  poultice  which  is  applied  to  the  patient's  waist,  a 
set  of  fresh  ingredients  replacing  the  old  ones.1  It 
is  sold  for  fifty  cents  a  jar. 

On  the  forty -fourth  day  the  raised  platform  or 
roasting-place  (saleian)  is  taken  down  and  the  cere- 
mony called  Floor-washing  (basoh  lantei)  takes  place, 
the  whole  house  being  thoroughly  washed  and  cleaned. 

1  The  following  is  the  list  of  actual  chingkeh  pala,  buah  ptlaga,  katumbar, 

ingredients  so  far  as  I  could  ascertain  jftnuju  Jawa,  jfmuju  Jk/rsant,   chabti 

them  :    bark   of    the  jambus,    stntul,  tali,    chabei   pintal,    changkoh,    sudtt 

Wruas,rambutan,kachangkayu,  'Wan,  ayer,  mur  daging,  mur  tulang,  pekak, 

dfdap,  pHtaling,  rambei,  laiaang,  kayu  jintan  puteh,  jintan  hitam,  manjakani, 

man  is,    strapat,    and  m/mp'las   hari ;  manjarawai   or    mlfnjtlawai  (?),    akar 

and    the    following    herbs,    roots,    or  manis,  biji  sawi,  jadam,  puchok  ganti, 

spices,     such    as    kunyit    frits,    lada  mesur,  alim,  mustakim,  chuchor  a/a/, 

hitam,  baivang  puteh,  ba-wang  merah,  kfmuktts,  and  kadtfkai. 


The  floor  having  been  smeared  with  rice -cosmetic 
(bedak)  (such  as  the  Malays  use  for  the  bathing 
ceremony),  it  is  well  scratched  by  the  claws  of  a 
fowl,  which  is  caught  (and  washed)  for  the  purpose, 
and  then  held  over  the  floor  and  forced  to  do  the 
scratching  required  of  it.  The  cosmetic  is  then 
removed  (di-langir}  by  means  of  lime-juice  (again  as 
in  the  bathing  ceremony)  and  the  hearth  -  fire  is 
changed.  The  Bidan  now  receives  her  pay,  usually 
getting  in  cash  for  the  eldest  child  $4.40  (in  some 
places  $5.40),  for  the  second,  $3.40,  the  third,  $2.40, 
and  for  the  fourth,  and  all  subsequent  children,  $1.40; 
unless  she  is  hastily  summoned  (bidan  tareK)  and  no 
engagement  (menempali}  has  been  made,  in  which 
case  she  may  demand  half  a  bhara  ($11).  Besides 
this  somewhat  meagre  remuneration,  however,  she 
receives  from  the  well-to-do  (at  the  floor- washing 
ceremony)  such  presents  as  cast  -  off  clothes  (kain 
bekas  tuboti),  a  bowl  of  saffron  rice,  a  bowl  of  the 
rice-cosmetic  and  limes  (bedak  limau],  and  a  platter 
of  betel  -  leaf,  with  accessories  (cherana  sirilt). 
Though  the  remuneration  may  appear  small,  it  was, 
nevertheless,  sure ;  as  in  former  days  an  unwritten 
law  allowed  her  to  take  the  child  and  "cry  it  for 
sale"  (di-jaja)  round  the  country,  should  her  fee 
remain  unpaid. 

Before  concluding  the  present  subject  it  will  be 
necessary  to  describe  certain  specific  injunctions  and 
taboos  which  form  an  important  part  of  the  vast 
body  of  Malay  customs  which  centre  specially  round 
the  birth  of  children. 

Before  the  child  is  born  the  father  has  to  be  more 
than  usually  circumspect  with  regard  to  what  he  does, 
as  any  untoward  act  on  his  part  would  assuredly  have 


a  prejudicial  effect  on  the  child,  and  cause  a  birth- 
mark or  even  actual  deformity,  any  such  affection 
being  called  kVnan.  In  a  case  which  came  to  my 
notice  the  son  was  born  with  only  a  thumb,  forefinger, 
and  little  finger  on  the  left  hand,  and  a  great  toe  on 
the  left  foot,  the  rest  of  the  fingers  and  toes  on  the 
left  side  being  wanting.  This,  I  was  told,  was  due  to 
the  fact  that  the  father  violated  this  taboo  by  going  to 
the  fishing-stakes  one  day  and  killing  a  crab  by  chop- 
ping at  it  with  a  cutlass. 

In  former  days  during  this  period  it  was  "taboo" 
(pantang)  for  the  father  to  cut  the  throat  of  a  buffalo 
or  even  of  a  fowl ;  or,  in  fact,  to  take  the  life  of  any 
animal  whatever — a  trace  no  doubt  of  Indian  influ- 
ences. A  Malay  told  me  once  that  his  son,  soon 
after  birth,  was  afflicted  with  a  great  obstruction  of 
breathing,  but  that  when  the  medicine-man  (Pawang) 
declared  (after  "diagnosing"  the  case)  that  the  child 
was  suffering  from  a  "  fish-affection  "  (kenan  ikan),  he 
remembered  that  he  had  knocked  on  the  head  an 
extraordinary  number  of  fish  which  he  had  caught 
on  the  very  day  that  his  son  was  born.  He  there- 
fore, by  the  advice  of  the  medicine -man,  gave  the 
child  a  potion  made  from  pounded  fish  bones,  and  an 
immediate  and  permanent  recovery  was  the  result. 

Such  affections  as  those  described  are  classified 
by  the  Malays  according  to  the  kind  of  influence 
which  is  supposed  to  have  produced  them.  Thus 
the  unoffending  victim  may  be  either  fish  -  struck 
(kenan  ikari),  as  described  above,  ape-struck  (kenan 
b'rok\  dog-struck  (kenan  anjing),  crab-struck  (kZnan 
ketam),  and  so  forth,  it  being  maintained  that  in 
every  case  the  child  either  displays  some  physical 
deformity,  causing  a  resemblance  to  the  animal  by 


which  it  was  affected,  or  else   (and  more  commonly) 
unconsciously  imitates  its  actions  or  its  "voice." 

Another  interesting  custom  was  that  the  father 
was  stringently  forbidden  to  cut  his  hair  until  after 
the  birth  of  the  child. 

The  following  passage  bearing  on  the  subject  is 
taken  from  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell's  article  on  the  "  Folk- 
lore of  the  Malays  "  : l— 

"In  selecting  timber  for  the  uprights  of  a  Malay 
house  care  must  be  taken  to  reject  any  log  which 
is  indented  by  the  pressure  of  any  parasitic  creeper 
which  may  have  wound  round  it  when  it  was  a  living 
tree.  A  log  so  marked,  if  used  in  building  a  house, 
will  exercise  an  unfavourable  influence  in  childbirth, 
protracting  delivery  and  endangering  the  lives  of 
mother  and  child.  Many  precautions  must  be  taken 
to  guard  against  evil  influence  of  a  similar  kind,  when 
one  of  the  inmates  of  a  house  is  expecting  to  become 
a  mother.  No  one  may  '  divide  the  house '  (belah 
mmati),  that  is,  go  in  at  the  front  door  and  out  at  the 
back,  or  vice  versa,  nor  may  any  guest  or  stranger  be 
entertained  in  the  house  for  one  night  only  ;  he  must 
be  detained  for  a  second  night  to  complete  an  even 
period.  If  an  eclipse  occur,  the  woman  on  whose 
account  these  observances  are  necessary  must  be  taken 
into  the  penangga  (kitchen),  and  placed  beneath  the 
shelf  or  platform  (para)  on  which  the  domestic  utensils 
are  kept.  A  spoon  is  put  into  her  hand.  If  these 
precautions  are  not  taken,  the  child  when  born  will 
be  deformed." 

Sir  W,  E.  Maxwell  in  the  above   is  speaking  of 
Perak  Malays.     The  passage  just  quoted  applies  to  a 

1  J.R.A.S.,  S.B.,  No.  7,  p.  19. 


great  extent  to  Selangor,  but  with  a  few  discrepancies. 
Thus  a  house-post  indented  by  a  creeper  is  generally 
avoided  in  Selangor  for  a  different  reason,  viz.  that  it 
is  supposed  to  bring  snakes  into  the  house. 

"  Dividing  the  house,"  however,  is  generally  con- 
sidered an  important  birth  -  taboo  in  Selangor,  the 
threatened  penalty  for  its  non  -  observance  being 
averted  by  compelling  the  guilty  party  to  submit  to  the 
unpleasant  ceremony  called  sembor  ayer,  a  member 
of  the  family  being  required  to  eject  (sembor)  a  mouth- 
ful of  water  upon  the  small  of  the  culprit's  back. 

In  Selangor,  again,  a  guest  must  stay  three  nights 
(not  two]  in  the  house,  his  departure  on  the  first  or 
second  night  being  called  "Insulting  the  Night" 
(menjolok  malam).  To  avert  the  evil  consequences  of 
such  an  act,  fumigation  (rabun-rabun)  is  resorted  to, 
the  "  recipe  "  for  it  running  as  follows  : — "  Take  assa- 
fcetida,  sulphur,  kunyit  frus  (an  evil -smelling  root), 
onion  skins,  dried  areca-nut  husk,  lemon-grass  leaves, 
and  an  old  mat  or  cloth,  burn  them,  and  leave  the 
ashes  for  about  an  hour  at  sunset  on  the  floor  of  the 
passage  in  front  of  the  door."  That  a  sensible  and 
self-respecting  "  demon  "  should  avoid  a  house  where 
such  an  unconscionable  odour  is  raised  is  not  in  the 
least  surprising ! 

In  the  event  of  an  eclipse  the  customs  of  the  two 
sister  States  appear  to  be  nearly  identical ;  the  only 
difference  being  that  in  Selangor  the  woman  is  placed 
in  the  doorway  (in  the  moonlight  as  far  as  possible), 
and  is  furnished  with  the  basket-work  stand  of  a  cook- 
ing pot,  as  well  as  a  wooden  rice-spoon,  the  former  as  a 
trap  to  catch  any  unwary  demon  who  may  be  so  foolish 
as  to  put  his  head  "into  the  noose,"  and  the  latter 
as  a  weapon  of- offence,  it  being  supposed  that  "the 


rattan  binding  of  the  spoon  (which  must,  of  course,  be 
of  the  orthodox  Malay  pattern)  will  unwind  itself  and 
entangle  the  assailant "  in  the  case  of  any  real  danger. 
Finally,  the  Bidan  must  be  present  to  "  massage  "  the 
woman,  and  repeat  the  necessary  charms. 

From  the  following  passage  it  would  appear  that 
the  corresponding  Pahang  custom  does  not  materially 
differ  from  that  of  Perak  and  Selangor  : — 

"  But  during  the  period  that  the  Moon's  fate  hung 
in  the  balance,  Selema  has  suffered  many  things.  She 
has  been  seated  motionless  in  the  fireplace  under  the 
tray-like  shelf,  which  hangs  from  the  low  rafters, 
trembling  with  terror  of — she  knows  not  what.  The 
little  basket-work  stand,  on  which  the  hot  rice-pot  is 
wont  to  rest,  is  worn  on  her  head  as  a  cap,  and  in  her 
girdle  the  long  wooden  rice-spoon  is  stuck  dagger-wise. 
Neither  she  nor  Umat  know  why  these  things  are 
done,  but  they  never  dream  of  questioning  their  neces- 
sity. It  is  the  custom.  The  men  of  olden  days  have 
decreed  that  women  with  child  should  do  these  things 
when  the  Moon  is  in  trouble,  and  the  consequences  of 
neglect  are  too  terrible  to  be  risked ;  so  Selema  and 
Umat  act  according  to  their  simple  faith."1 


Of  the  purely  Malay  ceremonies  performed  at 
Adolescence,  the  most  important  are  the  "filing  of  the 
teeth  "  (berasah  gigi}?  and  the  cutting  of  the  first  locks 
of  hair,  in  cases  where  this  latter  operation  has  been 
postponed  till  the  child's  marriage  by  a  vow  of  its 

1  Clifford,  Stud,  in  Brown  Hum.,  p.  51. 
2  Lit.  "  sharpening  ol  the  teeth." 


The  following  is  a  description  of  the  rite  of  tonsure 
(b$rckukor\  at  which  I  was  present  in  person  :— 

"Some  time  ago  (in  1897)  I  received,  through  one 
of  my  local  Malay  headmen,  an  invitation  to  attend  a 
tonsure  ceremony. 

"When  I  arrived  (about  two  P.M.),  in  company  of 
the  headman  referred  to,  the  usual  dancing  and  Koran- 
chanting  was  proceeding  in  the  outer  chamber  or 
verandah,  which  was  decked  out  for  the  occasion  with 
the  usual  brilliantly  coloured  ceiling-cloth  and  striped 
wall-tapestry.  After  a  short  interval  we  were  invited 
to  enter  an  inner  room,  where  a  number  of  Malays  of 
both  sexes  were  awaiting  the  performance  of  the  rite. 
The  first  thing,  however,  that  caught  the  eye  was  a 
gracefully-draped  figure  standing  with  shrouded  head, 
and  with  its  back  to  the  company,  upon  the  lowest 
step  of  the  dais  (grei}>  which  had  been  erected  with 
a  view  to  the  prospective  wedding  ceremony.  This 
was  the  bride.  A  dark -coloured  veil,  thrown  over 
her  head  and  shoulders,  allowed  seven  luxuriant 
tresses  of  her  wonderful  raven -black  hair  to  escape 
and  roll  down  below  her  waist,  a  ring  of  precious  metal 
being  attached  to  the  end  of  each  tress.  Close  to 
the  bride,  and  ready  to  support  her,  should  she  require 
it,  in  her  motherly  arms,  stood  the  (on  such  occasions) 
familiar  figure  of  the  Duenna  (Mak  Inang\  whose 
duty,  however,  in  the  present  instance  was  confined 
to  taking  the  left  hand  of  the  bride  between  her  own, 
and  supporting  it  in  a  horizontal  position  whilst  each 
of  the  seven  Representatives  (orang  waris) l  in  turn 
was  sprinkling  it  with  the  '  Neutralising  Rice- 
paste  '  (tepong  tawar)  by  means  of  the  usual  bunch 

1  Lit.    "  heirs "   (warith),   but  often,  as   here,  used    in    the   sense  of  repre- 
sentative members  of  the  family. 

2  A 


or  brush  of  leaves.  A  little  in  front  of  this  pair 
stood  a  youth  supporting  in  his  hands  an  unhusked 
cocoa-nut  shell.  The  crown  of  this  cocoa-nut  had 
been  removed,  and  the  edges  at  the  top  cut  in  such 
a  way  as  to  form  a  chevroned  or  '  dog-tooth '  border. 
Upon  the  indentations  of  this  rim  was  deposited  a 
necklace,  and  a  large  pair  of  scissors  about  the  size 
of  a  tailor's  shears  were  stuck  point  downwards  in 
the  rim.  The  cocoa-nut  itself  was  perhaps  half-filled 
with  its  'milk.'  Close  to  this  youth  stood  another, 
supporting  one  of  the  usual  circular  brass  trays 
(with  high  sides)  containing  all  the  ordinary  acces- 
sories of  the  tepong  tawar  ceremony,  i.e.  a  bowl  of 
rice-paste,  a  brush  of  leaves,  parched  rice,  washed 
saffron-stained  rice,  and  benzoin  or  incense. 

"  I  was  now  requested  to  open  the  proceedings, 
but  at  my  express  desire  the  Penghulu  (Malay  head- 
man) did  so  for  me,  first  scattering  several  handfuls 
(of  the  different  sorts  of  rice)  over  the  bride,  and 
then  sprinkling  the  rice-paste  upon  the  palm  of  her 
left  hand,  which  was  held  out  to  receive  it  as  described 
above.  \  The  sprinkling  over,  he  took  the  scissors  and 
with  great  deliberation  severed  the  end  of  the  first 
lock,  which  was  made  to  fall  with  a  little  splash,  and 
with  the  ring  attached  to  it,  into  the  cocoa-nut  with 
the  '  dog-tooth  '  border. 

"  Five  other  waris  (Representatives)  and  myself 
followed  suit,  the  seven  tresses  with  the  rings  attached 
to  them  being  all  received  in  the  cocoa-nut  as  described. 

"  A  child  of  the  age  of  about  two  or  three  years 
underwent  the  tonsure  at  the  same  time,  each  of  the 
Representatives,  after  severing  the  bride's  lock,  snip- 
ping off  a  portion  of  the  child's  hair.  The  child  was 
in  arms  and  was  not  veiled,  but  wore  a  shoulder-cloth 


(bidak)  thrown  over  his  shoulder.  At  the  conclusion 
of  the  ceremony  we  left  the  room,  and  the  Koran- 
chanting  was  resumed  and  continued  until  the  arrival 
of  the  bridegroom  in  procession  (at  about  five  P.M.), 
when  the  bride  and  bridegroom  went  through  the 
ceremony  of  being  '  seated  side  by  side '  (ber sanding), 
and  the  business  of  the  day  was  concluded. 

"The  cocoa-nut  containing  the  severed  tresses  and 
rings  is  carried  to  the  foot  of  a  barren  fruit-tree  (e.g. 
a  pomegranate-tree),  when  the  rings  are  extracted  and 
the  water  (with  the  severed  locks)  poured  out  at  the 
tree's  foot,  the  belief  being  that  this  proceeding  will 
make  the  tree  as  luxuriant  as  the  hair  of  the  person 
shorn,  a  very  clear  example  of  'sympathetic  magic.' 
If  the  parents  are  poor,  the  cocoa-nut  is  generally 
turned  upside  down  and  left  there ;  but  if  they  are 
well-to-do,  the  locks  are  usually  sent  to  Mecca  in 
charge  of  a  pilgrim,  who  casts  them  on  his  arrival 
into  the  well  Zemzem." 

I  will  now  describe  the  ceremony  of  filing  or 
"sharpening"  the  teeth,  from  notes  taken  by  myself 
during  the  actual  ceremony  (2Oth  March,  1897). 

The  youth  whose  teeth  I  saw  filed  must  have 
been  quite  fifteen  or  sixteen  years  of  age,  and  had 
not  long  before  undergone  the  rite  of  circumcision. 
When  I  arrived  I  found  the  house  newly  swept  and 
clean,  and  all  the  accessories  of  the  ceremony  already 
prepared.  These  latter  consisted  of  a  round  tray 
(dulang)  containing  the  usual  bowl  of  rice  -  paste 
(tepong  tawar),  with  the  brush  of  leaves,1  three  cups 
(containing  different  sorts  of  rice),  an  egg,2  three  rings 

1  The  leaf-brush  in   this  case  con-       sZlaguri,  and  was  bound  up  with  ribu- 
sisted  of  leaves  of  the  sapfnoh,  puhtt-       ribu  (a  kind  of  creeper). 
/«/«/,    sapanggil,    sambau    dara,    and  2  Into  this  egg,  it  is  supposed,  all 


of  precious  metals  (gold,  silver,  and  amalgam),  a 
couple  of  limes,  and  two  small  files  (to  which  a  small 
tooth-saw  and  two  small  whetstones  should  be  added).1 
The  ceremony  now  commences  :  the  tooth -filer 
(Pawang  gigi)  first  scatters  the  three  sorts  of  rice  and 
sprinkles  the  tepong  tawar  upon  his  instruments, 
etc.,  repeating  the  proper  charm 2  at  the  same  time ; 
the  patient  meanwhile,  and  throughout  the  operation, 
reclining  upon  his  back  on  the  floor  with  his  head 
resting  on  a  pillow.  Next  the  Pawang,  sitting 
beside  the  patient,  "touches"  the  patient's  teeth,  first 
with  each  of  the  three  rings  of  precious  metal  and 
then  with  the  egg,  throwing  each  of  these  objects 
away  as  he  does  so,  and  repeating  each  time  a  charm 
(Hu,  kata  Allah,  d.  s.  &.),  which  is  given  in  the 
Appendix.  Next  he  props  open  (di  -  sengkang)  the 
patient's  mouth  by  means  of  a  dried  areca-nut, 
and  repeats  another  charm  (Hei,  Bismi)  in  order  to 
destroy  the  "  venom "  of  the  steel,  laying  the  file 
upon  the  teeth,3  and  drawing  it  thrice  across 
them  at  the  end  of  the  charm.  He  then  cuts 
off  (di-k'rat)  the  crowns  of  the  teeth  (with  one 

evil    influences    proceeding    from    the  (badi)   issues    from    the  teeth.       This 

teeth  enter.     Hence  it  is  regarded  after  dulang-dulang  is  valued  at  a  quarter 

the  ceremony  as  sial  (unlucky),   and  of  a  dollar,  and  is  taken  as  part  pay- 

cannot  be  eaten — indeed  it  is  considered  ment  of  the  tooth-filer's  services,  or  it 

"bad"  (t?mtf lang).  may  be  retained  by  the    householder 

1  Besides    the    tray    containing    the  when  the  full  fee  of  fifty  cents  is  paid, 

articles  described,  there  stood  at  one  This      dulang  -  dulang      is     thought, 

side    of    the    room    what   is    called    a  moreover,    to    dispel    evil    influences 

dulang-dulang.      This    consists    of   a  (membuang  sial),   the    hank    of  yarn 

tray  full  of  unhusked  rice  surmounted  by  being  used  by  the  Pawang  to  wipe  his 

a  tray  full  of  husked  rice  and  a  roughly-  eyes  should  any  harm  to  them  accrue 

husked  cocoa-nut  (niyor gubalan)  which  from    evil    influences    residing    in    the 

rests  upon  the  latter.  The  pc 
of  the  cocoa-nut  referred  to  is 
by  a  hank  of  "Java"  threac 
Jaiva),  which  is  said  to  avert 
the  tooth  -  filer's  eyes  whei 

inted  top  teeth.       Such    evil    influences    (badi), 

Sr circled  however,  can  only  accrue  when  people 

nang  are  having  their  teeth  filed  for  the  first 

ry  to  time  (orang  bttngaran). 

as  2    Vide  App.  cli. 

sometimes  happens,  the  evil  influence  3   Vide  App.  cliii. 


of  the  files),  smooths  their  edges  (di-papar)  with 
one  of  the  whetstones,  and  polishes  them  (mtlechek). 
During  the  whole  of  this  part  of  the  performance, 
which  is  a  trying  ordeal  to  witness,  although  it  is 
borne  with  the  utmost  fortitude  on  the  part  of  the 
sufferer,  the  latter  holds  a  small  mirror  in  front  of  his 
mouth  in  order  to  be  assured  that  the  operation  is 
progressing  to  his  satisfaction.  When  the  actual 
filing  is  over,  the  areca-nut  is  extracted,  and  a  piece 
of  cocoa-nut  husk  or  small  block  of  pulai  wood 
inserted  in  its  stead,  in  order  to  facilitate  the  proper 
polishing  of  the  now  mutilated  teeth.  This  latter 
part  of  the  operation  is  accomplished  by  means  of 
the  file,  a  small  piece  of  folded  white  cloth  protecting 
the  lips  from  injury. 

Considerable  interest  attaches  to  the  filing  of  the 
first  tooth,  on  account  of  the  omens  which  are  taken 
from  the  position  in  which  the  crown  happens  to  lie 
when  it  falls.  If,  when  the  tooth  is  filed  through,  the 
crown  adheres  to  the  file,  it  is  taken  as  a  sign  that 
the  patient  will  die  at  home  ;  if  it  flies  off  and  lies 
with  its  edge  turned  upwards,  this  means,  on  the  con- 
trary, that  he  will  die  abroad. 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  operation  a  species  of 
poultice  (ubat  tasafc),  consisting  mainly  of  cooked 
ginger  (halia  bara  di-pahis-ki\  which  is  intended  to 
"deaden  (the  feeling  of)  the  gums"  (matikan  daging 
g^ls^)  is  duly  charmed *  and  applied  to  the  gums  of 
the  jaw  which  happens  to  be  under  treatment.  The 
Pawang  now  lays  one  hand  (the  left)  on  the  top  of 
the  patient's  head  and  the  other  upon  the  teeth  of 
the  upper  jaw,  and  presses  them  together  with  a  show 
of  considerable  force,  making  believe,  as  it  were,  that 

1    Vide  App.  civ. 


he  is  pressing  the  patient's  upper  teeth  firmly  into  their 
sockets.  Finally,  a  portion  of  betel -leaf  is  charmed 
(with  the  charm  Hong  sarangin,  etc.)  and  given  to 
the  patient  to  chew,  after  which,  it  is  asserted,  all 
pain  immediately  ceases.  The  Pawang  then  washes 
his  hands,  resharpens  his  tools,  and  those  present  sit 
down  to  a  meal  of  saffron-stained  pulut  rice.  This 
concludes  the  ceremony  for  the  day,  the  lower  jaw 
being  similarly  treated  upon  a  subsequent  occasion. 

In  the  course  of  three  such  operations  (the  Pawang 
informed  me)  the  teeth  can  be  filed  down  even  with 
the  gums,  in  which  case  they  are,  I  believe,  in  some 
instances  somewhat  roughly  plated  or  cased  with  gold. 
Sometimes,  however,  they  are  merely  filed  into  points, 
so  that  they  resemble  the  teeth  of  a  shark.1  Very 
frequently,  too,  they  blacken  them  with  a  mixture  of 
the  empyreumatic  oil  of  the  cocoa-nut  shell  (baja  or 
grang)  and  kamunting  (Kl.  karamunting]  wood,2 
which  is  also  used  for  blackening  the  eyebrows. 
These  customs,  however,  are  already  dying  out  in 
the  more  civilised  Malay  States. 

1  "  Both  sexes  have  the  extraordinary  applied  the  filing  does  not,  by  destroy  - 

custom  of  filing  and  otherwise  disfigur-  ing  what  we  term  the  enamel,  diminish 

ing    their    teeth,   which    are    naturally  the  whiteness  of  the  teeth.   .  .   .  The 

very    white    and    beautiful,    from    the  great  men  sometimes  set  theirs  in  gold 

simplicity    of  their    food.       For   files  by  casing  with  a  plate  of  that  metal  the 

they  make   use   of  small   whetstones,  under  row ;   and  this  ornament,  con- 

and    the  patients    lie    on    their    backs  trasted  with    the    black   dye,   has,   by 

during  the  operation.      Many,  particu-  lamp  or  candle  light,  a  very  splendid 

larly    the    women    of    the    Lampong  effect.    It  is  sometimes  indented  to  the 

country,  have  their  teeth  rubbed  down  shape  of  the  teeth,  but  more  usually 

quite  even  with  the  gums  ;  others  have  quite  plain.     They  do  not  remove  it 

them  formed  in  points,  and  some  file  either  to  eat  or  sleep."— Marsden, //&/. 

off  no  more  than  the  outer  coat  and  of  Sumatra  (ed.  1811),  pp.  52,  53. 
extremities  in  order  that  they  may  the  2  The  oil  used   for  this  purpose  is 

better  receive  and  retain  the  jetty  black-  also  obtained  by  burning  the  leaves  of 

ness  with  which  they  almost  universally  the  lime-tree  (Clifford  and  Swett.,  Mai. 

adorn  them.     The  black  used  on  these  Diet.,  s.v.  Baja)  or  (in   Selangor)  the 

occasions  is  the  empyreumatic  oil  of  the  wood    of  certain    trees,    such    as    the 

cocoa  -  nut    shell.     When   this   is    not  jambu  biawas  and  meSpoyan. 

vi  EAR- BORING  359 

Whenever  I  made  inquiries  as  to  the  reason  of 
this  strange  custom,  I  was  invariably  told  that  it  not 
only  beautified  but  preserved  the  teeth  from  the  action 
of  decay,  which  the  Malays  believe  to  be  set  up  by  the 
presence  of  a  minute  maggot  or  worm  (ulat),  their  most 
usual  way  of  expressing  the  fact  that  they  are  suffering 
from  toothache  being  to  say  that  the  tooth  in  question 
is  being  "eaten  by  a  maggot"  (di-makan  ulaf). 

The  "  Batak  "  Malays  (a  Mid-Sumatran  tribe,  many 
of  whom  have  settled  in  Kuala  Langat)  are  said  to 
chip  the  teeth  of  their  children  into  the  desired  shape 
by  the  use  of  a  small  chisel,  the  operation  causing  such 
exquisite  agony  that  the  sufferer  will  not  unfrequently 
leap  to  his  feet  with  a  shriek. 

Even  when  the  file  is  used,  the  work  of  an  unskilful 
performer  (who  does  not  know  how  to  destroy  the 
"venom"  of  his  instruments)  will  cause  the  sufferer's 
face  to  be  completely  swollen  up  (bakup]  for  a  long 
period  subsequent  to  the  operation.  Yet  young  people 
of  both  sexes  cheerfully  submit  to  the  risk  of  this 
discomfort,  and  the  only  remark  made  by  the  youth 
whom  I  saw  undergoing  it  was  that  it  "  made  his  mouth 
feel  uncomfortable  "  (jelejek  rasa  mulut-nya). 

The  ear-boring  ceremony  (bertindek)  appears  to 
have  already  lost  much  of  its  ceremonial  character  in 
Selangor,  where  I  was  told  that  it  is  now  usually  per- 
formed when  the  child  is  quite  small,  i.e.  at  the  earliest, 
when  the  child  is  some  five  or  seven  months  old,  and  when 
it  is  about  a  year  old  at  the  latest,  whereas  in  Sumatra 
(according  to  Marsden)  it  is  not  performed  until  the 
child  is  eight  or  nine.1  Still,  however,  a  special  kind 

1  "  At  the  age  of  about  eight  or  nine  monies  that  must  necessarily  precede 
they  bore  the  ears  and  file  the  teeth  of  their  marriage.  The  former  they  call 
the  female  children  ;  which  are  cere-  betendt,  and  the  latter  bedabong ;  and 


of  round  ear-ring,  which  is  of  filagree-work,  and  is 
called  subang,  is  as  much  the  emblem  of  virginity  in 
the  western  States  as  it  ever  was.  The  "discarding" 
of  these  ear-rings  (tanggal  subang],  which  should  take 
place  about  seven  days  after  the  conclusion  of  the 
marriage  rites,  is  ceremonial  in  character,  and  it  is  even 
the  custom  when  a  widow  (janda)  is  married  for  the 
second  time,  to  provide  her  with  a  pair  of  subang 
(which  should,  however,  it  is  said,  be  tied  on  to  her 
ears  instead  of  being  inserted  in  the  ear-holes,  as  in  the 
case  of  a  girl  who  has  never  been  married). 

The  rite  of  circumcision  is  of  course  common  to 
Muhammadans  all  over  the  world.  Some  analogous 
practices,  however,  have  also  been  noticed  among  the 
non-Muhammadan  Malayan  races  of  the  Eastern 
Archipelago,  and  it  is  at  least  doubtful  whether  cir- 
cumcision as  now  practised  by  Malays  is  a  purely 
Muhummadan  rite.  Among  Malays  it  is  performed 
by  a  functionary  called  the  "Mudim,"1  with  a  slip 
of  bamboo,  at  any  age  (in  the  case  of  boys) 
from  about  six  or  seven  up  to  about  sixteen  years, 
the  wound  being  often  dressed  (at  least  in  town 
districts)  with  fine  clay  mixed  with  soot  and  the 
yolk  of  eggs,  but  when  possible,  the  clay  is  mixed 
with  cocoa-nut  fibre  (rabok  niyor),  selumur  paku  uban, 
and  the  young  shoots  of  the  Klat  plantain  {puchok 
pisang  Klat\  the  compound  being  called  in  either  case 

these  operations  are  regarded  in   the  a  rivet  or  nut  screwed  to  the  inner 

family  as  the  occasion  of  a  festival.    They  part." — Marsden,    Hist,    of   Sumatra 

do  not  here,  as  in  some  of  the  adjacent  (ed.  181 1),  p.  53. 

islands  (of  Nias  in  particular),  increase  x  The   formula  (shahadat)  used   by 

the  aperture  of  the  ear  to  a  monstrous  the  Mudim  (tukang  memotong)  runs  as 

size,  so  as  in  many  instances  to  be  large  follows  : — 

enough  to  admit  the  hand,  the  lower  "  Ashahadun   la-ilaha-illa-'llak    wa 

parts   being  stretched   till   they   touch  ashahadun  Muhammad  al-Rasul  Allah 

the    shoulders.      Their    ear-rings    are  allahumma   aja'lni    mina    U-taivabina 

mostly  of  gold  filagree,  and  fastened,  wa  aja'lni  mina  '  l-matatakirrina." 

not  with  a  clasp,  but  in  the  manner  of 


ubat  tasak.  The  ceremony  is  associated  with  the 
common  purificatory  rite  called  tepong  tawar,  and 
with  ayer  tolak  bala  (lit.  evil-dispelling  water).  Lights 
are  kept  burning  in  the  house  for  several  days  ("until 
the  wound  has  healed  "),  and  the  performance  of  the 
ceremony  is  always  made  the  occasion  for  a  banquet, 
together  with  music  and  dancing  of  the  kind  in  which 
Malays  take  so  much  delight.  The  cause  of  these 
rejoicings  is  dressed  for  the  occasion  "like  a  bride- 
groom" (pengantin),  and  is  said  to  be  sometimes  carried 
in  procession. 


Ceremonies  and  charms  for  protecting  or  render- 
ing the  person  more  attractive  or  formidable,  form 
one  of  the  largest,  but  not  perhaps  the  most  inter- 
esting or  important  division  of  the  medicine-man's 

The  following  remarkable  specimen  of  the  charms 
belonging  to  the  first  of  these  classes  was  given  me 
by  'Che  'Abas  of  Klanang  in  Selangor,  a  Kelantan 
Malay  :— 

"  If  the  corpse  in  the  grave  should  speak, 
And  address  people  on  earth, 
May  I  be  destroyed  by  any  beast  that  has  life, 
But  if  the  corpse  in  the  grave  do  not  speak, 
And  address  people  on  earth, 

May  I  not  be  destroyed  by  any  beast  that  has  life,  or  by  any 
foe  or  peril,  or  by  any  son  of  the  human  race. 

And  if  the  chicken  in  the  egg  should  crow, 
And  call  to  chickens  on  earth, 
May  I  be  destroyed  by  any  beast  that  has  life, 
But  if  the  chicken  in  the  egg  do  not  crow," 

(etc.  etc.,  as  before.) 

As  a  general  rule,  however,  this  particular  class  of 


charms  shows  particularly  strong  traces  of  Arabic 
influence,  most  often,  perhaps,  taking  the  form  of  an 
injunction  (addressed  to  Jins  or  Angels)  to  watch  over 
the  person  of  the  petitioner. 

To  rightly  understand  charms  of  the  second  class, 
which  includes  Bathing  and  Betel-charming  charms,1  we 
must  have  some  idea  of  the  Malay  standard  of  beauty. 
This,  I  need  hardly  say,  differs  widely  from  that  enter- 
tained by  Europeans.  In  the  case  of  manly  beauty 
we  should,  perhaps,  be  able  to  acquiesce  to  some 
extent  in  the  admiration  which  Malays  express  for 
"Brightness  of  Countenance"  (ckakia),  which  forms 
one  of  the  chief  objects  of  petition  in  almost  every 
one  of  this  class  of  charms  ; 2  but  none  of  our  modern 
Ganymedes  would  be  likely  to  petition  for  a  "  voice 
like  the  voice  of  the  Prophet  David  "  ; 3  or  a  "  coun- 
tenance like  the  countenance  of  the  Prophet  Joseph  "  ; 
still  less  would  he  be  likely  to  petition  for  a  tongue 
"curled  like  a  breaking  wave,"  or  "a  magic  serpent," 
or  for  teeth  "like  a  herd  of  (black)  elephants,"  or 
for  lips  "like  a  procession  of  ants."4 

Malay  descriptions  of  female  beauty  are  no  less 
curious.  The  "  brow  "  (of  the  Malay  Helen,  for  whose 
sake  a  thousand  desperate  battles  are  fought  in  Malay 
romances)  "is  like  the  one-day-old  moon,"5  her  eye- 
brows resemble  "pictured  clouds,"6  and  are  "arched 
like  the  fighting-cock's  (artificial)  spur,"7  her  cheek 
resembles  "  the  sliced-off-cheek  of  a  mango,"8  her  nose 
"an  opening  jasmine  bud,"9  her  hair  the  "  wavy 
blossom-shoots  of  the  areca-palm,"10  slender11  is  her 

1  Some  of  these   charms   are   also  7  B?ntok  taji. 
Love-charms,  vide  App.  clxv.  8  Pauh  di-layang. 

2  Vide  App.  clxiii.      3  Ibid.     *  Ibid.  9  Kuntum  mflor  belum  k?mbang. 
6  Sa-hari  bulan.                                             10  Ikal  mayang. 

6  Arvan  di-tulis.  u  Jinjang. 


neck,  "with  a  triple  row  of  dimples,"1  her  bosom 
ripening,2  her  waist  "lissom  as  the  stalk  of  a  flower,"1 
her  head  "of  a  perfect  oval"  (lit.  bird's-egg-shaped), 
her  fingers  like  the  leafy  "spears  of  lemon-grass,"4  or 
the  "quills  of  the  porcupine,"5  her  eyes  "like  the 
splendour  of  the  planet  Venus,"0  and  her  lips  "like 
the  fissure  of  a  pomegranate."7 

The  following  is  a  specimen  of  an  invocation  for 
beautifying  the  person  which  is  supposed  to  be  used 
by  children  : — 

"  The  light  of  four  Suns,  five  Moons, 
And  the  seven  Stars  be  visible  in  my  eye. 
The  brightness  of  a  shooting  star  be  upon  my  chin, 
And  that  of  the  full  moon  be  upon  my  brows. 
May  my  lips  be  like  unto  a  string  of  ants, 
My  teeth  like  to  a  herd  of  elephants, 
My  tongue  like  a  breaking  wave, 
My  voice  like  the  voice  of  the  Prophet  David, 
My  countenance  like  the  countenance  of  the  Prophet  Joseph, 
My  brightness  like  the  brightness  of  the  Prophet  Muhammad, 
By  virtue  of  my  using  this  charm   that  was  coeval  with  my 

And  by  grace  of  '  There  is  no  god  but  God,' "  etc. 

When  personal  attractions  begin  to  wane  with  the 
lapse  of  years,  invocations  are  resorted  to  for  the 
purpose  of  restoring  the  petitioner's  lost  youth.  In 
one  of  the  invocations  referred  to  (which  is  said  to 
have  been  used  by  the  Princess  of  Mount  Ophir, 
Tuan  Putri  Gunong  Ledang,  to  secure  perpetual 
youth),  the  petitioner  boasts  that  he  (or  she)  was  "  born 
under  the  Inverted  Banyan  Tree,"  and  claims  the 
granting  of  the  boon  applied  for  "by  virtue  of  the  use 
of  the  "  Black  Lenggundi  Bush,"  which  when  it  has 

1  Gttak  (Mlak)  tiga.  «  Duri  landak. 

8  Bidang.  c  Qhahia  bintang  Zuhrah. 

3  Ramping  saptrti  tangkei  bunga.  7  Dalima  mfrkah. 

*   Tombak  strai. 


died,  returns  to  life  again,"  1  the  idea  being,  no  doubt, 
that  a  judicious  use  of  black  magic  will  enable  the 
petitioner  to  "live  backwards." 

The  third  class  of  invocations,  for  rendering  the 
person  formidable,  belong  rather  to  the  chapter  on 
war,  under  which  heading  they  will  be  included. 


Betrothal  is  called  tunangan  or  pinangan.  When 
the  parents  of  a  marriageable  youth  perceive  a  suitable 
"match"  for  their  son,  they  send  a  messenger  to  her 
parents  to  ask  if  she  has  yet  been  "  bespoken  "  (kalau 
ada  orang  sebuf}.  If  the  reply  is  satisfactory,  the 
messenger  is  again  despatched  to  intimate  the  desire 
of  the  youth's  parents  to  "bespeak"  the  hand  of  the 
favoured  individual  for  his  son,  and  to  arrange  a  day 
for  a  meeting.  These  preliminaries  are  accompanied 
by  the  usual  polite  self-depreciation  on  both  sides. 
Thus,  the  girl's  father  begins  by  saying,  "  You  wish  to 
bespeak  the  hand  of  my  daughter,  who  knows  neither 
how  to  cook  nor  how  to  sew "  (yang  tdtaku  masak, 
tdtahu  menjait\  But  the  custom  is  not  carried  to  such 
extremes  as  it  is  in  China.2 

1  Vide  App.  clxxv.  I  know  not  whether  good  luck  or  calamity 

will  follow  it, 

2  The   youth's   representatives    had  But  my  heart  turns  towards  you." 
further  the  right  to  interview  the  girl,  Here  one  of  the  girl's  representatives 
and  personally  assure  themselves  that  says,  ' '  Look  well  at  this  buffalo-calf  of 
she  was  "  without  blemish  and  without  mine  that  has  been  allowed  to  forage 
spot."     This  interview  passed  by  the  for  itself.      Maybe  its  coat  is  torn,  its 
name  of  the  "  Inspection  of  the  Buffalo-  limbs  broken,  or  its  sight  lost."     The 
calf,"  and  was  conducted  somewhat  as  youth's  representative,   if  all  is  satis- 
follows : — When  the  youth's  representa-  factory,  then  replies — 

tives  (the  Wooing  Party)  go  to  inspect  «The  sun  being  so  high, 

the  girl,  one  of  them  says —  The  buffalo-calf  will  die  if  tethered  ; 

This  long  while  have  I  been  prosecuting 

"  See  how  fruitful  are  the  satela  yams,  my  search, 

Where  the  hills  of   Bantan  rise  by  the  But  not  till  to-day  did  I  meet  with  what  I 

sea ;  wanted." 

8  £ 


The  girl's  parents  next  call  four  or  five  witnesses 
(saksi)  of  either  sex  to  "witness"  the  betrothal,  and 
after  preparing  a  meal  (nasi  dan  kuek]  for  their 
expected  guests,  await  the  arrival  of  the  youth's 
"  Representatives,"  the  youth  himself  remaining  at 
home.  One  of  the  party  carries  a  betel-leaf  tray 
furnished  with  the  usual  betel-chewing  appliances, 
together  with  half  a  bhara  of  dollars  ($11)  according 
to  the  stricter  custom ;  although  (failing  the  dollars), 
a  ring  or  bracelet,  or  other  jewellery  of  that  value,  may 
be  substituted. 

Bearing  these  presents  with  them,  the  youth's  re- 
presentatives proceed  to  the  house  of  the  girl's  parents, 
where  they  are  invited  to  enter  and  partake  of  the 
betel-leaf  provided  for  them.  A  meal  is  then  served, 
Malay  cakes  (kueh-kueK)  brought  forward,  and  the 
company  again  partake  of  betel. 

The  two  parties  now  sit  down  in  a  "family  circle," 
and  one  of  the  youth's  representatives  pushes  forward 
(di-sorongkan)  the  betel  which  they  had  brought  with 
them,  and  offers  it  to  the  people  of  the  house,  saying, 
"  This  is  a  pledge  of  your  daughter's  betrothal."  The 
girl's  father  replies,  "Be  it  so,  I  accept  it,"  or  words  to 
that  effect,  and  inquires  how  long  the  engagement  is 
to  last,  the  answer  being  "  six  months  "  or  "  a  year  "  as 
the  case  may  be.  Both  parties  then  appeal  to  the 
witnesses  to  "hear  what  is  said,"  and  the  youth's  rela- 
tives return  to  their  homes. 

The  marriage  portion  being  fixed  (in  Selangor)  by 
an  almost  universal  custom  at  two  bharas  of  dollars 
($44),  the  amount  is  not  usually  mentioned  at  the  be- 
trothal, it  being  understood  that  the  usual  amount  is 
intended.  But  if  the  girl's  parents  should  afterwards 
prove  reluctant  to  proceed  with  the  match,  they 


forfeit  twice  the  amount  of  the  pledge  -  money 
which  they  have  received ;  whereas  if  the  youth  re- 
fuses to  proceed  he  merely  forfeits  the  pledge-money 
($i  i)  already  paid  to  the  girl's  parents.  Some  families 
pay  a  marriage  portion  of  $30  only,  and  others  (such 
as  the  family  of  'Toh  Kaya  Kechil  of  Klang)  pay 
as  much  as  $50,  but  exceptions  are  rare,  $44  being 
now  generally  recognised  as  the  customary  wedding 

However,  the  girl's  family  does  not  really  receive 
anything  like  the  full  value  of  the  $44,  because  if  the 
$44  is  paid  in  full  the  proposer  has  a  right  to  de- 
mand a  complete  outfit  (persalinan)  of  silk  attire,  to 
the  value  of  about  $20,  so  that  the  amount  which 
actually  changes  hands  is  seldom  more  than  about 

The  Malay  fiancde,  unlike  her  European  sister,  is 
at  the  utmost  pains  to  keep  out  of  her  lover's  way,  and 
to  attain  this  object  she  is  said  to  be  "  as  watchful  as  a 
tiger."  No  engagement-ring  is  used  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood, no  priest  (or  Lebai)  is  present  at  the 
engagement  ceremony,  nor  is  the  girl  asked  for  her 
consent.  On  the  other  hand,  a  regular  system  of  ex- 
changing presents,  after  the  engagement,  is  said  to 
have  been  formerly  in  vogue  in  Selangor,  the  man 
sending  betel-leaf,  fruit,  and  eggs  to  his  fiancee  from 
time  to  time  in  net-work  receptacles,  and  the  woman 
sending  specially  prepared  rice,  etc.  in  rush-work  re- 
ceptacles of  various  patterns.  It  is  said,  too,  that  the 
woman  would  occasionally  carve  a  chain,  consisting  of 
three  or  four  links,  out  of  a  single  areca-nut,  in  which 
case  the  prospective  bridegroom  was  supposed  to  re- 
deem it  by  the  payment  of  as  many  dollars  as  there 
were  links.  The  betel-nut  presented  on  these  occa- 



-    V 



O     i 



s  <* 

U      '/! 

«  s 



sions  would  be  wrapped  up  in  a  gradation  of  three 
beautifully  worked  cloths,  not  unlike  "  D'oyleys " 
in  general  appearance,  whilst  the  actual  engagement 
ceremony  in  former  days  is  said  to  have  received  ad- 
ditional interest  and  formality  from  the  recital  of  verses 
appropriate  to  the  occasion  by  chosen  representatives 
of  each  party.  Specimens  of  the  betrothal  verses  for- 
merly used  in  Selangor  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 
The  following  is  a  translation  :— 

"  Q.  Small  is  my  cottage,  but  it  has  five  shelves 
For  roasting  the  kerisi  fish  ; 
Hearken,  good  people,  whilst  I  inquire  of  you 
What  is  the  price  of  your  Diamond l  here  ? 

A.  Your  fishing-line  must  be  five  fathoms  long 
If  you  would  catch  the  tenggiri  fish  ; 
Seven  tahils,  a  kati,  and  five  laksa? 
That  is  the  price  of  our  Diamond  here. 

Q.  If  there  are  no  rengas  trees  growing  on  the  Point, 
One  must  go  up-stream  and  cut  down  a  screw-palm  ; 
If  one  has  not  gold  in  one's  girdle, 
One  must  make  over  one's  person  to  begin  with. 

A.  If  there  are  no  rengas  trees  growing  on  the  Point, 

You  must  take  banyan-wood  for  the  sides  of  your  trays ; 

If  you  have  no  gold  in  your  girdle, 

You  need  not  hope  to  get  Somebody's  daughter. 

Q.  Thousands  are  the  supports  required 

For  the  stem  of  the  sago-palm  to  recline  upon ;  3 
Though*  it  be  thousands  I  would  accept  the  debt 
So  I  be  betrothed  to  Somebody's  daughter. 

1   Diamond,  i.e.  the  girl  about  whom  cal  expression  =  sa-ktti  lima  laksa,  i.e. 

T^e  wooing  party  has  come  to  treat.  150,000  cash  (pitis).      Vide  Kl.   sub 

'2  The  kati  is  the  "  Indian  "  pound  voce. 

(ij  pound  avoir.),  and  the  tahil  is  its  3  i.e.    when  the  sago  is  being  ex- 
sixteenth  part.     The  phrase  sakati  lima  traded  from  the  stem, 
is'explained  by  Klinkert  as  an  ellipti- 


A.  My  head-kerchief  has  fallen  into  the  sea, 
And  with  it  has  fallen  my  oar-ring  ; l 
I  stretch  out  my  hand  in  token  of  acceptance, 
Though  I  have  naught  wherewith  to  requite  you. 

Q,  Oar-ring  or  no, 

The  lenggundi  bush  grows  apace  in  the  thatch  channels. 

Whether  it  is  well  to  go  slowly  or  no, 

It  is  the  favour  you  have  shown  me  that  subdues  my  heart." 

If,  however,  there  is  a  hitch  in  the  proceedings,  and 
the  parties  commence  to  lose  their  temper,  the  stanzas 
may  end  very  differently  ;  for  instance,  the  girl's  father 
or  representative  will  say  :— 

"A.  My  lord  has  gone  up-stream 

To  get  his  clothes  and  wash  out  the  dye.2 

If  that  is  all,  let  it  alone  for  the  present ; 

If  there  is  anything  else  you  will  always  find  me  ready. 

Q.  'Che  Dol  Amat's  mango-tree 

When  it  fell  rolled  into  the  swamp. 

If  I  cannot  get  what  I  want  by  peaceful  means, 

Look  that  you  be  not  hit  in  the  war  of  strategy. 

A .  If  the  rim  is  not  properly  fitted  to  the  rice-box,8 
Let  us  get  saffron-rice  and  roast  a  fowl. 
If  I  cannot  get  you  to  make  acknowledgment, 
Let  Heaven  reel  and  Earth  be  submerged." 

These  last  two  lines  constitute  a  direct  challenge, 
and  no  more  words  need  be  wasted  when  once  they 
have  been  uttered. 


When  the  term  of  betrothal  is  drawing  to  its  close, 
a  suitable  day  (which  is  frequently  a  Tuesday)  is 

1  The  native  substitute  for  a  rowlock.       merely  a  longer  form  of  biku),  not  ap- 

2  y  •.    •    j-  pearing  in  any  dictionary.     The  next 

line  also  is  not  quite  clear,  but  it  would 

•"  This  line  is  obscure,  the  word  appear  to  mean  "  let  us  make  sacrifice," 
"  bingku  "  (which  I  have  translated  rim,  rice  stained  with  saffron  being  always 
on  the  supposition  that  it  may  be  used  sacrificially. 




chosen  for  the  work  of  decoration  (b$rgantong-gan- 
tong]  by  the  parents  of  both  parties,  and  notified  to 
the  relations  and  friends  who  wish  to  assist  in  the 
preparations  for  the  wedding.1 

Both  houses  are  decorated  with  vertically  striped 
hangings  (/ ' lang  tabir)  and  ornamental  ceiling-cloths 
(langit '-  langit\  and  mats,  rugs,  carpets,  etc.  are  laid 
down.  In  the  bridegroom's  house  little  is  done 
beyond  erecting  a  small  platform  or  dais  (petarana) 
about  six  feet  square,  and  raised  about  ten  inches  from 
the  floor,  upon  which  he  is  to  don  his  wedding  gar- 
ments when  he  sets  out  to  meet  the  bride.  A  similar 
platform  (petarana}  is  erected  in  the  bride's  house,  and 
a  low  dais  called  rambat  in  front  of  her  door,  at  the 
outer  corners  of  which  are  fixed  two  standard  candle- 
sticks (iiang  rambat},  which  are  sometimes  as  much  as 
six  feet  high,  and  each  of  which  carries  three  candles, 
one  in  the  centre  and  one  on  each  side,  those  at  the 
side  being  supported  by  ornamental  brackets  (sulor 
bayong).  The  rambat  may  measure  some  14  feet  in 

1  In  Denys'  Descriptive  Dictionary 
of  British  Malaya,  under  the  word 
"  Marriage,"  we  find  : — 

' '  The  only  terms  for  marriage  in 
Malay  are  the  Arabic  and  Persian  ones, 
respectively  nikah  and  kah-win,  the 
native  ones  having  probably  been  dis- 
placed by  these  and  forgotten." 

Both  these  words  are  used  inSelangor, 
the  first  (nikah),  which  properly  signifies 
the  mere  ceremony  or  "  wedding," 
being  more  commonly  used  by  the 
better  class  of  Malays  than  the  more 
comprehensive  kahwin,  which  corre- 

ands  pretty  nearly  to  the  English 
vord  "  marriage."  Words  describing 
the  married  state  with  reference  to  one 
of  the  parties  only,  however,  are  in 
frequent  use  :  such  as  the  bfrsuami 
and  bfristri  of  the  higher  classes,  and 

the  bMaki  and  bfrbini  of  the  common 
people  ;  and  yet  again  there  is  the  word 
b/rumah-rumah,  which  is  applied  indif- 
ferently to  either  of  the  two  parties  or 
to  both,  and  is  the  politest  word  that  can 
be  used  with  reference  to  the  common 
people,  but  is  never  applied  to  Rajas, 
in  whose  case  btrsuami  and  btristri 
alone  are  used. 

I  may  add,  on  the  authority  of  Mr. 
H.  Conway  Belfield,  lately  Acting- 
Resident  of  Selangor,  that  a  curious 
periphrastic  expression  is  sometimes 
used  by  Perak  women  in  talking  of  their 
husbands,  whom  they  call  rumah 
tangga,  which  literally  means  "House 
and  House-ladder, "  and  which  is  tanta- 
mount to  saying,  "  My  household,''  in- 
stead of  "  My  husband." 

2   B 


length   by  5  feet  in  width,   and  should  be  about    14 
inches  in  height. 

A  dais  (with  two  steps  to  it)  is  then  built  as  follows, 
generally  opposite  the  doorway,  but  standing  a  little 
way  back  from  it,  and  facing  the  rambat,  so  as  to 
leave  a  narrow  passage  (tela  kechit]  between  the 
threshold  and  the  dais,  which  latter  is  decked  with 
scarlet,  or  at  least  scarlet-bordered  cloth  (kain  berumpok 
dengan  sakalat}.  The  lower  step  of  the  dais  (ibu  grei] 
is  raised  about  1 2  inches  from  the  floor,  and  measures 
from  10  feet  to  12  feet  in  length  by  8  feet  in  width. 
The  upper  step  (grei  penapak]  is  a  little  smaller,  and 
is  only  raised  about  10  inches  above  the  lower  one. 
The  top  of  the  dais  is  covered  with  a  mattress,  and 
both  steps  are  decorated  with  expensive  borders,  which 
at  the  wedding  of  a  Raja  are  made  of  embossed  gold 
or  silver,  and  may  easily  cost  as  much  as  $150  each,  or 
even  more.  The  mattress  is  covered  in  its  turn 
with  a  quilt  (lihap  or  pelampap\  made  of  coloured 
silk  stuffed  with  cotton  ;  upon  this  quilt  is  laid  a  white 
cotton  sheet,  and  the  whole  is  surmounted  by  a  row  of 
colossal  "  pillows  "  (of  the  size  of  small  packing-cases), 
surmounted  by  others  of  moderate  size. 

A  mosquito-curtain  is  hung  over  all,  and  the  com- 
pleted couch  is  called  pelamin.  The  head  of  the 
pelamin,  it  must  be  added,  where  the  pillows  are  piled, 
is  always  on  the  left-hand  side  as  you  look  towards  it. 

The  number  of  the  pillows  used  is  of  the  highest 
importance,  as  indicating  the  rank  of  the  contracting 
parties.  The  larger  ones  are  about  5  feet  in  length 
and  2  feet  in  height  by  ij  feet  in  width.  They 
are  covered  with  rich  embroidery  at  the  exposed 
end,  and  are  arranged  in  a  horizontal  row  (sa-tunda), 
with  their  sides  just  touching,  in  the  front  left- 


hand  corner  of  the  mosquito-curtain,  so  as  to  leave 
a  clear  passage  of  about  3  feet  behind  them  (at  the 
back  of  the  curtain)  by  which  the  bride  and  bridegroom 
may  escape  to  ihefltfraduan  after  the  ceremony.  These 
big  pillows  are  white,  with  the  exception  of  the  em- 
broidered ends,  unless  they  are  intended  for  a  Raja, 
when  the  royal  colour  (yellow)  is  of  course  substituted. 
The  one  nearest  the  centre  of  the  couch  is  called 
bantal  tumpu,  and  usually  has  a  hexagonal  or  (in  the 
case  of  a  Raja)  octagonal  bolster  deposited  beside  it. 

The  smaller  pillows  are  red  (occasionally  purple, 
ungu,  or  orange,  jingga],  and  are  called  the  "  em- 
broidered pillows  "  (bantal  bertekat,  or  bantal  p'rada). 
Occasionally  a  set  of  twelve  small  pillows  is  used 
(when  they  are  called  bantal  dua-b'las,  or  the  Twelve 
Pillows),  but  often  there  is  only  one  of  them  to  each 
"  Big  Pillow,"  the  set  of  twelve  being  said  to  be  an 
innovation,  probably  introduced  from  Malacca.  Some- 
times, however,  when  many  small  pillows  are  piled  upon 
each  other,  measures  have  to  be  taken  to  keep  them 
from  falling,  in  which  case  the  space  between  the  piles 
is  said  to  be  filled  up  with  wool  or  cotton  stuffing 
(Penyclat\  the  front  being  covered  with  embroidered 
cloth,  the  upper  border  of  which  is  carried  up  diagon- 
ally from  the  top  of  one  pile  to  the  top  of  the  next. 

As  regards  the  permissible  number  of  big  pillows, 
according  to  a  scale  in  use  at  Klang,  the  common 
people  are  allowed  three  big  pillows  (including  the 
bantal  tumpu} ;  a  wealthy  man,  four  ;  and  a  Headman, 
such  as  the  'Toh  Kaya  Ke'chil,  five  ;  a  Raja  being  pre- 
sumably allowed  one  or  two  more.  According  to  this 
scale  it  is  only  the  big  pillows  that  are  of  importance,1 

1  I  remember  Mr.  C.  H.  A.  Turney       telling  me  of  a  great  disturbance  that 
(then  Senior  District  Officer  at  Klang)       arose  at  Klang  because  too  many  of 


and  the  people  are  allowed  to  use  as  few  or  as  many 
small  ones  as  they  like.  The  topmost  small  pillow, 
however,  is  always  triangular,  and  is  called  giinong- 

The  mosquito-curtain  (enclosing  the  couch  on 
which  the  pillows  rest)  of  course  varies  in  size  accord- 
ing to  the  dimensions  of  the  pelamin,  but  may  be 
roughly  taken  to  be  from  7  to  9  hasta 1  in  length,  by  8 
ft.  in  width,  and  4  ft.  to  5  ft.  in  height  (reaching  to  the 
ceiling-cloth).  Its  upper  edges  (kansor)  are  stiffened 
externally  with  a  square  frame,  consisting  of  four 
bamboo  rods  (galah  Klambu),  and  it  is  decorated  in 
front  with  a  beautifully  embroidered  fringe  called  "  Bo- 
tree  leaves  "  (daun  budi}.  The  front  of  this  mosquito- 
curtain  is  rolled  up2  to  within  2  or  3  ft.  of  the  top, 
instead  of  being  drawn  aside  as  usual.  At  the  back 
of  the  curtain  is  suspended,  except  in  the  case  of  a 
Raja's  wedding,  a  bamboo  clothes-rod  (buluh  sangkut- 
kan  kain).  This  rod  terminates  at  each  extremity  in 
an  ornamental  piece  of  scroll-work  (sulor  bayong] 
covered  with  scarlet  cloth,  which  is  sometimes  made  to 
issue  from  a  short  stem  of  horn  or  ivory,  and  has  a 
wooden  collar  called  dulang-dulang.  This  dulang- 
dulang,  moreover,  is  sometimes  provided  with  small 
hollows  (^mbat-mbaf)  at  the  top,  two  in  front  which 
are  filled  with  rose-water  or  perfume  (ayer  mawar 
or  ayer  wangi),  and  two  at  the  back  which  are 
filled  with  flowers. 

these  big  pillows  were  being  used  at  2  There  is,  I  believe,  a  special  cere- 

a    Malay  wedding.      Order  was    only  mony  connected  with  the   opening  of 

restored    by   the    intervention    of    the  this  curtain  which  is  performed  by  the 

police.  bridegroom   after    the    wedding   cere- 

1  A  hasta  is  the  length  of  the  fore-  mony,  special  cakes,  called   "  curtain - 

arm  from  the  elbow  to  the  tip  of  the  openers "    (kueh    pembuka 

middle  finger,  or  about  eighteen  inches.  being  eaten. 



Above  the  clothes-rod,  and  between  its  suspending 
cords  (tali ptnggantong] — which,  by  the  way,  are  also 
covered  with  scarlet  cloth — an  inner  fringe  of  "  Bo- 
leaves  "  (daun  budi  dalam)  is  sometimes  added  at  the 
top  of  the  curtain. 

At  the  wedding  of  a  Raja  nothing  else  should  be 
put  inside  the  curtain,  but  at  an  ordinary  wedding  a 
few  small  articles  of  typical  marriage  furniture  are 
usually  added  as  follows  : — 

Three  or  four  small  clothes  boxes  (saharati),  such 
as  are  kept  by  every  Malay  family,  and  peti  kapor 
(boxes  whose  corners  are  strengthened  and  decorated 
with  brass)  are  ranged  upon  the  mattress  just  below  the 
clothes-rod.  Upon  these  should  be  placed  (a)  the 
bangking,  which  is  a  kind  of  jar  or  urn  of  lacquered 
wood,  ranging  from  about  half  a  foot  to  a  foot  in 
height,  and  contains  a  portion  of  the  bride's  wardrobe  ; 
and  (£)  the  bun,1  which  is  either  octagonal  (peckak 
dlapan),  or  hexagonal  (peckak  anam),  as  the  case  may 
be,  and  which  may  be  described  as  a  box  of  tin,  or 
sometimes  of  lacquered  wood,  whose  contents  are 
as  follows  : — ( i )  a  couple  of  combs  (sikat  dua  bilafi], 
one  with  large  and  one  with  small  teeth ;  (2)  a  small 
cup  or  saucer  of  hair  oil  (a  preparation  of  cocoa-nut  oil), 
or  attar  of  roses  (minyak  attar],  or  pomatum  (kateneh) ; 
(3)  a  small  pen-knife  for  paring  the  nails ;  (4)  a  pair 
of  scissors ;  (5)  a  preparation  of  antimony  (chelak], 
which  is  a  sort  of  black  ointment  applied  by  the  Malays 
to  the  inside  edge  of  the  eyelids  ;  and  (6)  a  Malay 
work-box  (called  dulang  in  Selangor  and  bintang  at 
Malacca),  which  is  a  circular  box  of  painted  or  lacquered 

1  C.  and  S.  give — "  Bun  (Dutch),  a       is  given  as  a  "  trunk"  in  a  Dutch  Die- 
large  tin  or  copper  box  for  tobacco  or       tionary. 
sirih  leaves — Van  der  Tuuk."    "  Bun  " 


wood,  furnished  with  a  lid,  and  containing  needles, 
cotton,  and  the  rest  of  the  Malay  housewife's  parapher- 

Near  the  door  of  the  curtain  is  placed  an  earthen- 
ware water -jar,  called  gelok  (gelok  Kedah  and 
gelok  Perak  are  the  usual  "makes");  this  jar 
stands  upon  a  small  brass  or  earthenware  plate  with 
high  sides  (bokor),  and  its  mouth  is  covered  with  a 
brass  or  earthenware  saucer  (chepir\  on  which  is  laid 
the  brass  or  earthenware  bowl  (fienchedok  ayer  or 
batil}  which  is  used  for  scooping  up  water  from  the 
water-jar,  and  which,  when  it  is  in  use,  is  temporarily 
replaced  by  an  ornamental  cap  woven  from  strips  of 
screw-palm  leaves.  A  couple  of  candlesticks  placed 
near  the  water -jar,  a  betel  tray  (tepah  or  puan),  a 
basin  (batil  besar]  for  washing  off  the  lees  of  henna, 
and  a  "  cuspadore "  (ketor\  all  of  which  are  placed 
inside  the  curtain,  complete  the  preparations  for  this 
portion  of  the  ceremony. 

The  day  concludes,  as  far  as  the  workers  are  con- 
cerned, with  a  meal  in  which  all  who  have  assisted 
in  the  preparations  take  part,  and  this  is  followed 
by  various  diversions  dear  to  Malays,  such  as  the 
chanting  of  passages  from  the  Koran.1 

At  a  royal  wedding,  either  the  "  Story  of  'Che 
Megat"  (Che  Megat  Mantri),  or  a  royal  cock-fight 
(main  denok),  or  a  performance  by  dancing  girls  or 
fencers  (pedikir),  may  be  substituted  for  these  more 
devotional  exercises. 

These  performances  (whatever  they  may  be)  are 
kept  up  (with  intervals  for  rest  and  refreshment)  till 
four  or  five  in  the  morning,  when  the  guests  disperse 

1  This    is    called    main  zikir — or,       is  unaccompanied,  and  zikir  bfrdah  if 
more   commonly,  jikir — maulud  if  it       accompanied  by  musical  instruments. 

.2   a 


to  their  respective  homes  to  sleep  off  the  night's 

Whilst  the  games  are  progressing  (at  about  nine 
or  ten  P.M.)  the  first  staining  of  the  finger-nails  of  the 
bride  and  bridegroom  is  commenced,  the  ceremony 
on  this  occasion  being  conducted  in  the  seclusion  of 
the  inner  apartments,  and  hence  called  the  "  Stolen 
Henna-staining"  (berhinei  ckuri).  Leaves  of  henna 
are  taken  and  pounded  together  with  a  small  piece 
of  charcoal,  and  the  "  mash  "  is  applied  to  the  finger- 
nails of  both  hands  (with  the  exception  of  the  middle 
or  "  Devil's  finger,"  jari  hantu\  The  centre  of 
each  palm  is  also  touched  with  the  dye,  the  area 
stained  being  as  much  as  would  be  covered  by  a 
dollar.  A  line  (of  a  finger's  breadth)  is  also  said  to 
be  drawn  along  the  inner  side  of  the  sole  of  each  foot, 
from  the  great  toe  to  the  heel  (hinei  kaus\ 

A  couple  of  what  we  should  call  "pages,"  of 
about  ten  years  of  age,  are  seated  right  and  left  of 
the  bridegroom,  and  are  called  Pengapit. 

The  bride  usually  provides  herself  with  one  or 
more  girl  companions ;  but  these  are  supposed  to 
"  hide  themselves  "  when  there  is  company,  their  place 
being  taken  by  more  staid  duennas,  who  are  called 
Tukang  Andam  (i.e.  "coiffeurs"),  and  a  personal 
attendant  or  nurse,  called  Mainang  (Mak  Inang,} 
who  appears  to  act  as  a  sort  of  Mistress  of  the 

The  second  day  is  spent  by  the  guests  (as  was 
said  above)  in  sleeping  off  their  night's  fatigue,  and 
they  do  not  reassemble  till  evening,  at  about  five  P.M. 

When  the  last  has  arrived  (at  about  seven  P.M.)  a 
meal  is  served,  and  at  about  half-past  eight  the  games 
recommence ;  but  after  a  round  or  so  (zikir  sa-jurus\ 


say  at  about  ten  P.M.,  the  bride  at  her  house  and 
bridegroom  at  his  respectively  make  their  first  ap- 
pearance in  public,  clad  in  their  wedding  garments, 
for  the  ceremony  of  staining  the  finger-nails,  this 
time  in  public.  When  they  are  seated  (between  the 
two  candlesticks,  which  are  lighted  to  facilitate  the 
operation)  a  tray  is  brought  forward,  furnished  with 
the  usual  accessories  of  Malay  magic,  rice  -  paste 
(tepong  tawar],  washed  rice,  "saffron"  rice,  and 
parched  rice,  to  which  is  added,  in  this  instance,  a 
sort  of  pudding  of  the  pounded  henna- leaves.  A 
censer  is  next  produced,  and  a  brass  tray  with  a  foot 
to  it  (called  s&mVrip)  is  loaded  with  nasi  berhinei 
(pulut  or  "glutinous"  rice  stained  with  saffron),  in 
which  are  planted  some  ten  to  fifteen  purple  eggs 
(dyed  with  a  mixture  of  brazil  wood  (sepang]  and  lime, 
and  stuck  upon  ornamental  sprays  of  bamboo  decorated 
with  coloured  paper).  The  bride  (or  bridegroom)  is 
then  seated  in  a  "begging"  attitude,  with  the  hands 
resting  upon  a  cushion  placed  in  the  lap  ;  the  first  of 
the  guests  then  takes  a  pinch  of  incense  from  the 
tray  and  burns  it  in  the  brazier  (temp  at  bara] ;  next  he 
takes  a  pinch  of  parched  rice,  a  pinch  of  newly-washed 
rice,  and  a  pinch  of  saffron  rice,  and,  squeezing  them 
together  in  the  right  fist,  fumigates  them  by  holding 
them  for  a  moment  over  the  burning  incense,  and  then 
throws  them  towards  the  sitter,  first  towards  the  right, 
then  towards  the  left,  and  finally  into  the  sitter's  lap. 

The  "  Neutralising  Paste " *  is  then  brought  and 
the  usual  leaf -brush  dipped  into  the  bowl  of  paste, 
with  which  the  forehead  of  the  sitter  and  the  back 
of  each  hand  are  duly  "  painted." 

1   Tgpong  tawar,    or   "Neutralising       (membuang  sial);    for    further    details 
Paste,"   is   believed    to   avert   ill-luck      vide  Chap.  III.  pp.  77-81,  supra. 

vi  USE  OF  HENNA  377 

A  pinch  of  the  henna  is  then  taken  and  dabbed 
upon  the  centre  of  each  palm,  the  hands  of  the  sitter 
being  turned  over  to  enable  this  to  be  done. 

The  sitter  then  salutes  the  guest  by  raising  his  (or 
her)  hands  with  the  palms  together  before  the  breast 
in  an  attitude  of  prayer ;  the  guest  replies  by  a  similar 
action,  and  the  ceremony  is  at  an  end. 

The  same  operation  is  performed  by  from  five 
to  seven,  or  even  nine,  relations  (Orang  IVaris,  lit. 
"  Heirs,")  the  last  operator  concluding  with  an  Arabic 

While  this  ceremony  is  proceeding  inside,  music 
strikes  up  and  a  special  dance,  called  the  Henna 
Dance  (menari  hinei]^  is  performed,  a  picturesque 
feature  of  which  is  a  small  cake  of  henna,  which  is 
contained  in  a  brazen  cup  (gompong  kinei]  and  sur- 
rounded by  candles.  This  cup  is  carried  by  the 
dancer,"  who  has  to  keep  turning  it  over  and  over 
without  letting  the  candles  be  extinguished  by  the 
wind  arising  from  the  rapid  motion. 

The  step,  which  is  a  special  one,  is  called  the 
"Henna-dance  Step"  (Langkah  tar1  kinei,  i.e.  tari 
hinei],  and  the  tune  is  called  the  "  Henna-staining 
tune  "  (Lagu  berhinei]. 

This  ceremony  over,  the  "henna-staining"  rice 
(nasi  berhinei}  is  partaken  of  by  those  present,  the 
remainder  being  distributed  to  the  guests  engaged  in 
"  main  zikir" 

On  the  third  night  the  same  ceremonies  are 
repeated  without  variation. 

On   the  fourth   morning,  called  the   "  Concluding 

1  Not  at  a  Raja's  wedding. 
2  This  ceremony  is  also  called  mfnyllcmg  or  bMtbat, 


Day "    (ffari    Langsong)>    everybody    puts     on    his 
finest  apparel  and  jewellery. 

The  bride's  hair  is  done  up  in  a  roll  (sanggul] 
and  this  is  surmounted  with  a  head-dress  of  artificial 
flowers  (called  grak  gempa),  cut  out  of  p'rada  kresek 
("crackling  tinsel")  and  raised  on  fine  wires;  her 
forehead  is  bound  with  a  band  or  fillet  of  tinsel — 
gold- leaf  (ftrada  Siam]  being  used  by  the  rich— 
which  is  called  tekan  kundei,  and  is  carried  round 
by  the  fringe  of  the  hair  (gigi  rambut}  down  to 
the  top  of  each  ear  (pelipis) * ;  for  the  rest  the 
bride  is  clad  in  a  "wedding  jacket"  (baju  pengantin), 
which  has  tight-fitting  sleeves  extending  down  to  the 
wrist,  or  sleeves  with  gathers  (simak]  over  the  arm, 
and  which  is  generally  made  of  "  flowered  satin " 
(siten  berbunga)  in  the  case  of  the  rich,  or  of  cloth 
dyed  red  with  kasumba^  (kain  kasumba)  in  the 
case  of  the  poorer  classes.  This  "  wedding  jacket " 
fits  tightly  round  the  neck,  has  a  gold  border  (pen- 
depun  ymas),  is  fastened  with  two  or  three  gold 
buttons,  and  fits  closely  to  the  person ;  the  wealthy 
add  a  necklace  or  crescent -shaped  breast -ornament 
(rantei  merjan  or  dokok]  round  the  bride's  neck. 
She  also  wears  bracelets  (glang)  and  ear-rings  (subang] 
and  perhaps  anklets,  of  five  different  metals  (keron- 
chong  panchalogam).  A  silk  sarong,  which  takes  the 
place  of  a  skirt,  and  is  girt  about  the  waist  with  a 
waist-cord  (but  not  usually,  in  Southern  Selangor, 
fastened  with  belt  and  buckle),  and  a  pair  of  silk 
trousers,  complete  her  attire. 

1  One  of  these   fillets,   which   was  The  substitute  used  by  poor  people  is 

purchased   by  the  writer,  had   for   its  frequently  manufactured  from  the  leaf 

pattern    two    dragons     (naga),    which  of  the  thatch-palm  (nipah). 
looked  different  ways,  and  a  couple  of  2  According  to  v.  d.  Wall  this  plant 

butterflies  as    pendants   at   each    end.  is  Carthamus  tinctorius. 




The  groom,  on  the  other  hand,  is  clad  in  his  best 
jacket  and  trousers,  with  the  Malay  skirt  (sarong], 
fastened  at  the  side,  and  girt  above  the  knee  (kain 
ktimbang).  His  head  is  adorned  with  the  sigar,  a 
peculiar  head-dress  of  red  cloth  arranged  turbanwise, 
with  a  peak  on  the  right-hand  side,  from  which  arti- 
ficial flowers  (gunjei)  depend,  and  which  preserves  its 
shape  through  being  stuffed  with  cotton- wool.  Its 
border  is  decorated  with  tinsel,  and  it  has  a  gold 
fringe  (kida-kida).  Besides  this  head-dress  the  bride- 
groom has  a  small  bunch  of  artificial  flowers  (sunting- 
sunting)  stuck  behind  each  ear,  whilst  two  similar 
bunches  are  stuck  in  the  head-dress  (one  on  the  right 
and  the  other  on  the  left). 

Bridegrooms,  however,  who  belong  to  the  richer 
classes  wear  what  is  called  a  tester  ( =  destar  ?},  whilst 
former  Sultans  of  Selangor  are  said  to  have  worn  a 
gold  cap  (songkok  leleng),  which  is  reputed  to  have 
contained  eighteen  bongkal1  (or  bungkal}  of  gold. 

The  remainder  of  the  company  are  of  course  merely 
dressed  in  their  best  clothes. 

The  "Rice  of  the  Presence"  (nasi  adap-adap}  is 
now  prepared  for  what  is  called  the  astakona  or 
setakona,  which  may  be  described  as  a  framework 
with  an  octagonal  ground-plan,  built  in  three  tiers,  and 
made  of  pulai  or  meranti  or  other  light  wood  ;  it  has 
a  small  mast  (tiang)  planted  in  the  centre,  with  cross 
pieces  (palang-palang)  in  each  of  the  upper  stories  to 
keep  it  in  its  place ;  the  framework  is  supported  by 
four  corner-posts,  on  which  it  is  raised  about  a  foot  and 
L  a  half  from  the  floor.  The  box  thus  formed  is  filled  to 

1  A  weight  used  for  weighing  the  822  grains  troy  ;  according  to  Max- 
precious  metals.  According  to  C.  and  well,  Manual  of  the  Mai,  Lang.,  p.  141, 
S.  Diet.,  s.v.  Bungkal,  it  is  equal  to  to  832. 


the  top  with  "saffron  rice"  (nasi  kunyif),  and  in  the 
rice  at  the  top  are  planted  the  aforesaid  coloured  eggs. 
I  nto  a  hole  at  the  top  of  the  mast  is  fitted  the  end  of  a 
short  rattan  or  cane,  which  is  split  into  four  branches, 
each  of  which  again  is  split  into  three  twigs,  whilst  on 
the  end  of  each  twig  is  stuck  one  of  the  coloured  eggs 
(telor  joran),  an  artificial  flower,  and  an  ornamental 
streamer  of  red  paper  called  layer?  which  is  cut  into 
all  sorts  of  artistic  and  picturesque  patterns. 

The  setakona  is  erected  in  front  of  the  pelamin, 
on  which  the  bride  takes  her  seat  at  about  4  P.M.  to 
await  the  coming  of  the  bridegroom,  the  members  of 
her  own  bridal  party,  including  the  Muhammadan 
priest  or  Imam,  continuing  the  zikir  maulud  in  the 
reception  room  at  frequent  intervals  from  9  A.M. 
until  the  bridegroom's  arrival.  The  arrangements 
are  completed  by  placing  ready  for  the  bridegroom  the 
"Bridal  Mat"  (lapik  nikati),  which  consists  of  a  mat 
of  screw-palm  leaves  (or  in  the  case  of  a  Raja,  a  small 
quilt,  embroidered  in  the  manner  called  Jong  saraf] 
five  cubits  of  white  cloth,  which  are  rolled  up  and  put 
on  one  side,  and  a  tray  of  betel. 

Returning  to  the  bridegroom,  holy  water  (ayer 
sembahyang]  is  now  fetched  in  a  cherek  (a  kettle- 
shaped  vessel)  or  bucket,  for  the  bridegroom  to  wash 
his  face  and  hands,  and  he  then  proceeds  to  put 
on  his  wedding  garments,  as  described  above, 
after  which  a  scarf  (salendang]  is  slung  across  his 
shoulder.  The  marriage  procession  (perarakan) 
then  sets  out,  the  women  heading  it  (penganjor)  and 
the  men  following,  the  bridegroom  carried  upon  some- 

1  The  mast  with  its  branches  carry-  atic  of  a  fruit-tree,  the  eggs  represent- 
ing artificial  flowers,  streamers,  and  ing  the  fruit,  the  artificial  blossoms  its 
coloured  eggs,  appears  to  be  emblem-  flowers,  and  the  streamers  its  leaves. 


8  I 


body's  shoulders  (di-sompoJi),  and  right  and  left  the 
musicians  beating  drums,  tabors,  etc.,  whilst  those  who 
have  any  skill  amuse  the  company  with  exhibitions  of 
Malay  fencing  (main  silaf]  and  dancing,  etc.,  to  the 
accompaniment  of  the  zikir  intoned  by  their  com- 

The  arrival  of  the  bridegroom  at  the  bride's  house 
is  the  signal  for  a  mimic  conflict  for  the  person  of  the 
bride,  which  is  called  melawa,  and  is  strangely  remi- 
niscent of  similar  customs  which  formerly  obtained  in 

In  some  cases  a  rope  or  piece  of  red  cloth  would 
be  stretched  across  the  path  to  bar  the  progress  of  the 
bridegroom's  party,  and  a  stout  enough  resistance 
would  be  offered  by  the  defenders  until  the  bridegroom 
consented  to  pay  a  fine  which  formerly  amounted,  it 
is  said,  to  as  much  as  $20,  though  not  more  than  $3 
or  $4  would  now  be  asked.  Occasionally  the  bride- 
groom would  pay  the  fine  by  pulling  the  ring  off  his 
finger  and  handing  it  to  the  bride's  relations,  but  the 
ceremony  would  not  unfrequently  end  in  a  free  fight. 
Verses  were  recited  on  these  occasions,  of  which  a  few 
stanzas  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix.1 

On  arriving  at  the  door  the  musicians  strike  up 
their  liveliest  tune,  and  as  the  bridegroom  is  carried 
up  the  steps  he  has  to  force  his  way  through  an 
Amazonian  force  consisting  of  the  ladies  of  the  bride's 
party,  who  assemble  to  repel  the  invader  from  the 
threshold.  A  well-directed  fire  is  maintained  by  others, 
who  pour  upon  the  foe  over  the  heads  of  the  defenders 

1  For  instance,  in  reply  to  an  appeal  "  Even  the  woodpecker  knows  how  to  fly, 
from    the    Bride's  Relations  to  "take  And  how  much  more  the  lory ; 

.  .,      ,    .        ..  ,   .   .,  Even  my  grandsire  s  commands  I  take  into 

into  account  the  duty  which  is  the  custom  account, 

of  the  country,"  one  of  the  Bridegroom's  And  how  much  more  the  duty  imposed  by 

Relations  would  repeat  the  following:— 


repeated  volleys  of  saffron  rice  (or,  at  a  royal  wedding, 
ambor-ambor  —  i.e.  clippings  from  a  thin  sheet  of 
silver  or  gold  which  are  thrown  among  the  crowd  as 

Meanwhile  the  bridegroom  persists  until  his  efforts 
are  crowned  with    success,    and   he   makes   his    way 
(assisted  possibly  by  some  well-meant  act  of  treachery 
on  the  part  of  the  garrison)  to  the  reception  room, 
when  the  mat  already  referred  to  is  unrolled  and  the 
white  cloth  suspended  over  it.     Here  the  bridegroom 
takes  his  seat  and  the  priest  comes  out  to  perform  the 
wedding  ceremony.1     This,  strangely  enough,  is  per- 
formed with  the  bridegroom  alone,  the  priest  saying  to 
him  in  the  presence  of  three  or  four  witnesses  and 
his  surety   (wali),   generally  his  father,   "  I  wed  you, 
A.,  to    B.,  daughter   of    C.,    for    a    portion    of    two 
bharas"      To  this   the  bridegroom    has    to    respond 
without  allowing  an  interval,  "  I  accept  this  marriage 
with  B.,  for  a  portion  of  two  b haras"  (or  one  bhara 
if  one  of  the  parties  has  been  married  before).     Even 
this  short  sentence,  however,  is  a  great  deal  too  much 
for  the  nerves  of  some  Malay  bridegrooms,  who  have 
been  known  to  spend  a  couple  of  hours  in  abortive 
attempts  before  they  could  get  the   Imam  to  "pass" 
it.      As  soon,    however,    as    this   obstacle   has    been 
surmounted,  the  priest  asks  those  present  if  they  will 
bear  witness  to  its  correctness,  and  on  their  replying 
in  the  affirmative,  it  is  followed  by  the  "bacha  salawat" 
which  consists  of  repeated  shouts  from  the  company 

1  It  is  said  that  this  is  a  departure  widow  who  has  no  children  by  her 
from  the  old  custom,  according  to  which  former  husband  there  is  no  procession 
the  wedding  ceremony  took  place  the  at  all,  and  the  ceremonies  are  some- 
day before  the  procession  (except  at  what  abridged.  I  may  add  that  a 
the  re-marriage  of  a  widow  who  has  childless  widow  has  the  subang  (ear- 
no  children,  kahwin  janda  berhias).  rings  which  are  the  symbol  of  virginity) 
In  the  case  of  the  re-marriage  of  a  tied  on  to  her  ears.  Vide  p.  360,  supra. 

STB  .5  g 


d,  and  are  call< 










1    •* 




55      u 




0      J 




*      2 




a-     -o 









M      :« 




a     .? 




H        5 




<     . 


r     ^ 




"     ^ 


































a   . 







~  _c 

'       C 



of  "  Peace  be  with  thee."  This  part  of  the  ceremony 
completed,  one  of  the  brothers  or  near  relations  of  the 
bridegroom  leads  him  into  the  bridal  chamber,  and 
seats  him  in  the  usual  cross-legged  position  on  the 
left  side  of  the  bride,  who  sits  with  her  feet  tucked  up 
on  his  right.  Even  the  process  of  seating  the  couple 
(bVrsanding)  is  a  very  fatiguing  one  ;  each  of  them 
has  to  bend  the  knees  slowly  until  a  sitting  posture  is 
reached,  and  then  return  to  a  standing  posture  by 
slowly  straightening  the  knees,  a  gymnastic  exercise 
which  has  to  be  repeated  thrice,  and  which  requires  the 
assistance  of  friends.1 

The  seating  having  been  accomplished,  friends  put 
in  the  right  hands  of  bride  and  bridegroom  respectively 
handfuls  of  rice  taken  from  the  nasi  setakona ;  with 
this  the  two  feed  each  other  simultaneously,  each  of 
them  reaching  out  the  hand  containing  the  rice  to  the 
other's  mouth.  (This  part  of  the  ceremony  is  often 
made  the  occasion  for  a  race.) 

The  bridegroom  is  then  carried  off  by  his  friends 
to  the  outer  chamber,  where  he  has  to  pay  his  respects 
(minta  ma'af,  lit.  "  ask  pardon  ")  to  the  company,  after 
which  he  is  carried  back  to  his  old  post,  the  bride  in 
the  meantime  having  moved  off  a  little  in  the  mosquito 

1  A  couple  of  matronly  ladies  are  2.   They   are   similarly   raised,    and 

generally  told  off  for  this  service,  the  repeat  as  before,  in  turn,  the  words, 

ceremony  being  as  follows  : —  "Assuredly    I    will   not  do   thee  any 

I.  They  raise  first  the  man  and  then  shame  whatever  "  (Sahya  ta'buleh  buat 

the  woman  slowly  to  a  standing  posture ;  satu  apa  kamaluan  di-atas  awak). 

when  it  is  reached  the  bridegroom  says  3.  When   raised   for  the   third   and 

to  the  bride,  "  Take  heed,  care  for  thy  last  time  they  say,   "  I  ask  the  Lord 

•husband,  care  for  my  good  name,  care  God  to  give  us  both  long   life,    and 

Jfbr  me "    (Baik-baik  jaga  laki  awak,  that  all  our  handiwork  may  prosper  " 

jaga  nama   saAya,  jagakan  aku)  ;    to  (Sahya  mint  a*  kapada  Tuhan  Allah  bUr- 

this  the  bride  responds  in  a   similar  sama-sama panjang  'umor,  samua  k&ja 

strain,  mutatis  mutandis,  and  they  are  dtngan  salamat). 
then  as  slowly  re-seated. 


The  sweetmeats  are  then  brought  and  handed 
round,  the  setakona  is  broken  up,  and  the  bundles 
of  rice  wrapped  in  plantain  leaves  which  it  contains 
distributed  to  the  company  as  largess  or  berkat. 
Each  of  the  company  gets  one  of  the  telor  chachak, 
the  telor  joran  being  reserved  for  the  Imam  and 
any  person  of  high  rank  who  may  attend,  e.g.  a 

This  completes  the  wedding  ceremony,  but  the 
bridegroom  is  nominally  expected  to  remain  under  the 
roof  (and  eye)  of  his  mother-in-law  for  about  two  years 
(reduced  to  forty-four  days  in  the  case  of  "royalty"), 
after  which  he  may  be  allowed  to  remove  to  a  house 
of  his  own.  No  Kathi 2  was  present  until  quite  recently 
at  marriages  in  Selangor,  nor  has  it  in  the  past  been 
the  practice,  so  far  as  I  could  find  out,  for  him  to 
attend.  Sir  S.  Raffles  gives  as  part  of  the  formula 
used  in  Java : — "  If  you  travel  at  sea  for  a  year,  or 
ashore  for  six  months,  without  sending  either  money 
or  message  to  your  wife,  she  will  complain  to  the 
judge  and  obtain  one  talak  (the  preliminary  stage  of 
divorce),"  and  this  condition  should,  strictly  speaking, 
be  included  in  the  Malay  formula.  It  is  now  growing 
obsolete,  but  was  in  former  days  repeated  first  by  the 
priest,  and  then  by  the  bridegroom  after  him.  The 
marriage  portion  (isi  kahwin,  Arabic  mahar)  is  here 
generally  called  tflanja  kahwin  or  mas  kahwin?  No 
wedding-ring  should,  strictly,  be  given. 

1  It  used  to  be  considered  an  insult       with  marriage,  divorce,  and  ecclesiasti- 
to  omit  offering  one  of  these  eggs  to  a       cal  affairs  generally.     The  Imam  is  the 
guest,  so  much  so,  that  I  was  assured       chief  elder  of  one  mosque. 

that  in  former  days  a   woman  whose  3  There  is  a  difference  bet  ween  Vlanja 

husband  had  been  thus  slighted  would  and   mas  kahwin,   the   former  usually 

have  a  right  to  sue  for  a  divorce.  meaning    the    wedding   expenses,    the 

2  The   Kathi    is   an  official    having  latter  the  dower ;  at  least  this  is  the 
superintendence  over  several  mosques  Malacca  terminology,  which  probably 
and  jurisdiction  in  matters  connected  also  obtains  elsewhere. 


For  three  days  lustrations  are  continued  by  the 
newly-married  pair,  but  before  they  are  completed,  and 
as  soon  as  possible  after  the  wedding,  friends  and 
acquaintances  once  more  put  on  their  finery,  and 
proceed  to  the  house  to  pay  their  respects,  to  bathe, 
and  to  receive  largess. 

On  the  third  day  after  the  hari  langsong  there  is  a 
very  curious  ceremony  called  mandi  tolak  bala,  or  mandi 
ayer  salamat  (bathing  for  good  luck). 

On  the  night  in  question  the  relatives  of  the  bride- 
groom assemble  under  cover  of  the  darkness  and  make 
a  bonfire  under  the  house  of  the  newly-married  couple 
by  collecting  and  burning  rubbish ;  into  the  fire  thus 
kindled  they  throw  cocoa-nut  husks  and  pepper,  or 
anything  likely  to  make  it  unpleasant  for  those  within, 
and  presently  raise  such  a  smoke  that  the  bridegroom 
comes  hastily  down  the  steps,  ostensibly  to  see  what 
is  the  matter,  but  as  soon  as  he  makes  his  appearance, 
he  is  seized  by  his  relatives  and  carried  off  bodily  to 
his  own  parents'  house;  these  proceedings  being  known 
as  the  stealing  of  the  bridegroom  (churi  pengantiii). 
Next  day  there  is  a  grand  procession  to  escort  him 
back  to  the  house  of  his  bride,  which  he  reaches  about 
one  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  the  processionists  carrying 
"  Rice  of  the  Presence  "  (nasi  adap-adafi}  with  the  eggs 
stuck  into  it  as  on  the  last  day  of  the  wedding,  two 
sorts  of  holy  water  in  pitchers,  called  respectively  ayer 
salamat  (water  of  good  luck),  and  ayer  tolak  bala  (water 
to  avert  ill-luck),  vases  of  flowers  (gumba]  containing 
blossom-spikes  of  the  cocoa-nut  and  areca-nut  palms,  and 
young  cocoa-nut  leaves  rudely  plaited  into  the  semblance 
of  spikes  of  palm-blossom,  k'risses,  etc.  etc.,  together  with 
a  large  number  of  rude  syringes  manufactured  from  joints 
of  bamboo,  and  called  panah  ayer,  or  "water-bows." 

2  c 


A  set  of  similar  objects  (including  nasi  adap-adap], 
is  prepared  by  the  relatives  of  the  bride,  and  deposited 
upon  the  ground  in  the  place  selected  for  the  bathing 
ceremony.  A  bench  being  added  for  the  bride  and 
bridegroom  to  sit  upon,  the  ceremony  commences  with 
the  customary  rite  of  tepong  tawar,  after  which  the  two 
kinds  of  holy  water,  ayer  tolak  bala  and  ayer  salamat, 
are  successively  thrown  over  the  pair. 

Now,  according  to  the  proper  custom,  during  the 
proceedings  which  follow,  all  the  bride's  relatives 
should  surround  the  bride's  seat,  and  the  bridegroom's 
relatives  should  stand  at  a  distance  ;  but,  in  order  to 
save  themselves  from  a  wetting,  the  women  of  both 
parties  now  usually  assemble  round  the  bride  and 
bridegroom,  where  they  are  protected  by  a  sheet  which 
is  hung  between  them  and  the  men  ;  for  all  the  young 
men  now  proceed  to  discharge  their  "  water  arrows," 
and  as  they  are  stopped  by  the  sheet  they  proceed  to 
turn  their  syringes  against  each  other,  until  all  are 
thoroughly  wetted. 

Meanwhile  a  young  cocoa-nut  frond,  twisted  into 
a  slip-knot  with  V-shaped  ends  (something  like  the 
"  merry  thought "  of  a  fowl),  is  presented  to  the  bride 
and  bridegroom,  each  of  whom  takes  hold  of  one  end, 
and  blowing  on  it  (sembor)  thrice,  pulls  it  till  it  comes 
undone,  and  the  lepas-lepas  rite  is  concluded.  Finally, 
a  girdle  of  thread  is  passed  seven  times  over  the  heads 
and  under  the  feet  of  the  bride  and  bridegroom,  when 
the  bridegroom  breaks  through  the  thread  and  they 
are  all  free  to  return  homewards.  This  latter  ceremony 
is  called  'lat-lat.  The  guests  then  return  to  their 
homes,  divest  themselves  of  their  wet  garments,  and 
put  on  their  wedding  attire.  The  bersuap-suapan,  or 
feeding  ceremony,  is  then  performed  (both  vessels 


of  adap-adap  rice  being  used),  and  then  all  parties 
disperse  for  the  usual  games.  Seven  days  after  the 
"  Concluding  Day "  (Hari  Langsong),  the  ceremony 
of  Discarding  the  Earrings  (i.e.  subang,  the  emblems 
of  virginity)  is  performed  by  the  bride. 

Raja  Bot  of  Selangor,  who  attaches  great  importance 
to  the  lustration  ceremony,  and  says  that  it  ought  not 
to  take  place  later  than  the  seventh  day  (at  a  Raja's 
wedding),  thus  describes  the  full  ceremony  as  once 
arranged  by  himself: — A  small  bath-house  was  built 
at  the  top  of  a  flight  of  seven  steps,  and  water  was 
pumped  up  to  it  through  a  pipe,  whose  upper  end  was 
made  fast  under  the  roof  of  the  shed,  and  terminated 
in  the  head  of  a  dragon  (naga\  from  whose  jaws 
the  water  spouted.  The  steps  were  completely  lined 
with  women,  of  whom  there  must  have  been  an 
immense  number  (no  men  being  allowed  to  be  present), 
and  the  Raja  and  his  bride  bathed  before  them.  A 
royal  bath-house  of  this  kind  is  called  balei  pancha 
tiersada,  and  should  be  used  not  only  at  "  royal " 
weddings,  but  at  coronations  (waktu  di-naubatkan} ; 
it  is  described  in  the  following  lines  :— 

"  Naik  balei  pancha  persada 
Di-hadap  uleh  saga/a  JBiduaiida, 
Dudok  semaiam  dengan  bertakhta. 
Mandi  ayer  yang  kaluar  di  mulut  Naga  " — 

which  may  be  translated  :— 

"  Ascend  to  the  Royal  Bath-House 
In  the  presence  of  all  your  courtiers, 
Take  your  seat  in  royal  state, 

And  bathe  in  the  water  that  flows  from  the  Dragon's 

It  must  not  be  supposed  that,  with  such  a  mass  of 
detail,  many  things  may  not  have  been  overlooked, 


but  it  may  be  remarked  as  some  sort  of  a  practical 
conclusion  to  this  account,  that  the  Malay  wedding  cere- 
mony, even  as  carried  out  by  the  poorer  classes,  shows 
that  the  contracting  parties  are  treated  as  royalty, 
that  is  to  say,  as  sacred  human  beings,  and  if  any 
further  proof  is  required,  in  addition  to  the  evidence 
which  may  be  drawn  from  the  general  character  of  the 
ceremony,  I  may  mention,  firstly,  the  fact  that  the 
bride  and  bridegroom  are  actually  called  Raja  Sari, 
(i.e.  Raja  sa-kari,  the  "sovereigns  of  a  day");  and, 
secondly,  that  it  is  a  polite  fiction  that  no  command 
of  theirs,  during  their  one  day  of  sovereignty,  may  be 

I  will  now  give  accounts  of  two  Malay  weddings 
which  took  place  at  Klang :  both  accounts  were  com- 
posed by  respectable  Malays,  the  first  one  being  trans- 
lated by  Mr.  Douglas  Campbell  of  Selangor,  and  the 
second  by  the  present  writer  :— 

"The  following  account  of  the  ceremonies  con- 
nected with  the  marriage  of  Siti  Meriam,  a  daughter 
of  the  Orang  Kaya  Badu,1  of  Selangor,  to  Wan 
Mahamed  Esa,  a  son  of  Datoh  Mentri2  Ibrahim  of 
Perak,  has  been  furnished  by  a  Malay  contributor, 
Haji  Karrim,  and  in  translating  it  into  English  an 
endeavour  has  been  made  to  follow,  as  far  as  possible, 
the  style  of  the  native  writer. 

"  On  Monday,  the  ist  of  August,  the  house  was  pre- 
pared and  the  hangings  and  curtains  put  up,  and  on 
that  evening  the  ceremony  of  dyeing  the  fingers  of  the 
bridegroom  with  henna  was  performed  for  the  first 
time.  Then  there  were  readings  from  the  Koran, 
with  much  beating  of  drums  and  kettledrums  and 

1  The  descendant  of  one  of  the  four  great  Chiefs  (Orang  Besar  btr-ampat) 
of  Selangor.  2  Ex- Prime  Minister  of  Perak. 


ii   e  'u' 
S.O  £ 

*  l-a 

>>  §  ^ 

•    O    41 

5  e  - 

S    p   c 

i  2 

M    -J!    -5 

u  2  o- « 
•5. -5  2  I 


Malay  dances,  and  when  this  had  gone  on  for  some 
time,  supper  was  served  to  all  the  men  present  in  the 
balei,  or  separate  hall,  and  to  the  women  in  the  house 
adjoining.  Supper  over,  readings  from  the  Koran  and 
beating  of  drums  were  continued  till  daylight. 

"  On  Tuesday  evening  the  dyeing  of  the  fingers  of 
the  bridegroom  was  performed  for  the  second  time,  as 
on  the  preceding  evening. 

"The  third  occasion  of  dyeing  the  fingers  of  the 
bridegroom  took  place  on  Wednesday  evening,  but 
with  much  more  ceremony  than  previously.  The 
bridegroom,  after  being  dressed  in  silks  and  cloth  of 
gold,  was  paraded  in  an  open  carriage.  On  each  side 
of  him  was  seated  a  groom'sman  shading  him  with  a 
fan,  and  behind,  holding  an  umbrella  over  him,  was 
another.  And  thus,  with  many  followers  beating  drums 
and  singing,  and  with  the  Royal  ffVftfeMbox,  on  which 
are  seated  the  dragons  known  as  naga  pura  and 
naga  taru,  and  with  two  Royal  spears  carried  before 
him  and  two  behind,  the  bridegroom  was  taken 
through  the  streets  in  procession.  On  arriving  at  the 
bride's  house  he  was  received  with  showers  of  rose- 
water,  and  then  conveyed  by  the  elders  to  the  raised 
dais  on  which  the  bride  and  bridegroom  awaited  their 

"  The  bridegroom  being  seated,  fourteen  of  the 
elders  came  forward  and  dyed  his  fingers  with  henna, 
and  afterwards  others,  who  were  clever  at  this,  followed 
their  example.  While  this  was  going  on  there  was 
much  beating  of  gongs  and  drums,  and  then  the  same 
process  of  dyeing  was  repeated  on  the  bride  by  women 
Next  the  Imam  came,  and,  after  stating  that  the 
dowry  was  $100  cash,  heard  Wan  Mahamed  Esa 

1  Sink  or  sirih,  the  betel  leaf. 


publicly  receive  Siti  Meriam  as  his  wife,  whereupon 
the  Bilal l  read  a  prayer  and  afterwards  pronounced  a 

"  Supper  was  then  served  to  all  the  guests  present 
as  before,  the  men  having  their  meal  in  the  6a/ei 
and  the  women  in  the  house  adjoining,  and  singing 
and  dancing  was  kept  up  until  daylight. 

"  On  Thursday  afternoon  the  bride,  dressed  in  her 
best,  with  her  father  and  relations,  received  the  Resi- 
dent, who  was  accompanied  by  Mrs.  Birch,  the  Senior 
District  Officer  and  Mrs.  Turney,  Captain  and  Mrs. 
Syers,  Mr.  Edwards,  and  many  other  ladies  and 
gentlemen.  Cakes  and  preserves  were  served,  of 
which  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  present  partook. 
Then  the  bridegroom  arrived,  seated  in  an  open 
carriage  with  a  groom'sman  on  each  side  of  him,  while 
one,  carrying  the  Royal  silk  umbrella,  kindly  lent  by 
H.H.  the  Sultan,  went  before  him. 

"  The  procession  was  headed  by  one  of  the  Royal 
spears,  and  two  more  were  carried  before  the  bride- 
groom and  two  behind  him,  and  so,  accompanied  by 
the  Selangor  Band,  kindly  lent  by  the  Resident,  and 
by  a  crowd  of  people  singing  and  beating  gongs  and 
drums,  he  was  conveyed  to  the  bride's  house.  His 
arrival  was  greeted  with  showers  of  rice,  and  he  was 
seated,  together  with  the  bride,  on  the  dais,  where 
they,  with  the  assistance  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Birch,  helped 
each  other  to  partake  of  yellow  rice. 

"  So  the  marriage  was  completed  satisfactorily,  and 
then,  as  it  was  evening,  the  Resident  and  Mrs.  Birch, 
and  the  other  ladies  and  gentlemen  present,  returned  to 

1  The  Bilal  is  an  elder  of  the  mosque ;  in  western  Muhammadan  countries  he 
is  styled  Muezzin. 


Kuala   Lumpur ;   the  people  who  remained  amusing 
themselves  with  dagger  dances  (main  dabus). 

44  On  Friday  evening  the  bride  and  bridegroom  left 
for  Jugra  in  the  Esmeralda,  which  had  been  lent  by 
the  Resident,  to  pay  their  respects  to  H.H.  the  Sultan, 
returning  to  Klang  on  Saturday. 

"  On  the  same  afternoon  the  ceremony  of  the  bath 
was  performed,  to  the  great  satisfaction  of  every  one 
present,  and  was  kept  up  till  six  o'clock,  by  which  time 
every  one  was  wet  through. 

44  This  was  the  last  ceremony  in  connection  with  the 
marriage,  and  then  every  one  wished  the  bride  and 
bridegroom  much  happiness." 

The  following  account  was  translated  by  the 
writer  : — 

44  Preparations  for  the  wedding  of  Inche  Halimah, 
daughter  of  Sheikh  'Abdul  Mohit  Baktal,  and  Said 
4Abdul  Rahman  Al  Jafri,  commenced  on  Monday,  the 
2nd  of  August  1895. 

44  The  mosquito-curtain,  tapestries  and  canopies  were 
suspended,  and  decorations,  including  the  marriage 
furniture  (peti  betuah  dan  bangking},  arranged.  More- 
over, the  bridal  couch  was  adorned  with  decorations 
of  gold  and  mattresses  raised  one  above  the  other,  one 
with  a  facing  of  gold  and  the  other  with  a  facing  of 
silver,  and  four  pillows  with  gold  facings,  and  five 
piled-up  pillows  with  silver  facings  ;  and  the  kitchen 
apparatus  was  got  ready,  including  ten  pans  and 
coppers  of  the  largest  size,  and  the  sheds  for  those  who 
were  to  cook  rice  and  the  meats  eaten  therewith.  On 
this  day,  moreover,  a  buffalo  was  sent  by  Towkay 
Teck  Chong,  with  the  full  accompaniments  of  music, 
and  so  forth. 

1  Selattgor  Journal,  vol.  i.  No.  2,  p.  23. 


"  On  Tuesday,  the  3rd  day  of  the  month,  took  place 
the  first  Henna-staining,  the  bride  being  led  forth  by 
her  Coiffeur  and  seated  upon  the  marriage  throne. 
And  the  bride  seated  herself  against  the  large  pillow, 
which  is  called  '  The  Pillow  against  which  One  Rests,' 
or  bantal  saraga.  And  towards  evening  all  the  rela- 
tives on  the  woman's  side  sprinkled  the  tepong  tawar 
(upon  the  forehead  and  hands  of  the  bride),  and  after 
the  Henna-staining,  dishes  of  confectionery  and  pre- 
served fruits  were  offered  to  all  the  guests  who  were 
present  in  the  reception-room. 

"  And  on  the  3rd1  day  of  the  month  there  took  place 
in  like  manner  the  second  Henna-staining.  And  on 
the  5th  day  of  the  month  took  place  the  Private  Henna- 
staining  (berhinei  ckuri] ;  the  bride's  hair  being  dressed 
after  the  fashion  known  as  Sanggul  Lintang,  and 
further  adorned  with  ornaments  of  gold  and  diamonds 
to  the  value  of  about  $5000.  And  after  this  Henna- 
staining  all  persons  present  descended  to  the  rooms 
below,  where  fencing  and  dagger  dances,  and  music 
and  dancing  were  kept  up  at  pleasure. 

"  On  the  6th  day  of  the  month,  being  Friday,  Inche 
Mohamad  Kassim,  Penghulu  of  the  Mukim  of  Bukit 
Raja,  was  commissioned  by  Datoh  Penghulu  Mohit  to 
summon  the  bridegroom,  inasmuch  as  that  day  was 
fixed  for  the  marriage  rite.  And  the  bridegroom, 
wearing  the  robe  called  jubah  and  a  turban  tied  after  the 
Arab  fashion,2  arrived  at  about  three  o'clock,  and  was 
met  by  the  priest  (Tuan  Imam)  at  the  house.  Very 
many  were  the  guests  on  that  day,  and  many  ladies 

1  Probably  this  should  be  4th.  not  unusual  even  in  the  case  of  purely 

2  He  was  of  Arab  extraction.     But       Malay  bridegrooms, 
wearing  clothes  in  the  Arab  fashion  is 


and  gentlemen,  and  his  renowned  Highness  the 
Tungku  Dia-Uddin,  were  assembled  in  the  house. 

"And  the  Tuan  Imam  read  the  marriage  service, 
Datoh  Pgnghulu  Mohit  giving  his  permission  for  Tuan 
Haji  Mohamad  Said  Mufti  to  wed  Inche  Halimah  to 
Said  'Abdul  Rahman  Al  Jafri,  with  a  marriage  portion 
of  $100.  And  after  the  marriage  rite  Tuan  Imam 
proceeded  to  read  prayers  for  their  welfare.  And 
afterwards  dishes  of  rice  were  brought,  of  which  the 
guests  present  were  invited  to  partake.  And  when 
all  had  eaten,  the  Coiffeur  led  forth  the  bride  to  the 
scaffolding  for  the  ceremony  called  '  Bathing  in  State.' 
And  upon  that  same  evening  took  place  the  Great 
Henna-staining,  and  the  guests  assembled  in  exceed- 
ing great  numbers,  both  men  and  women,  and  filled 
the  house  above  and  below  to  overflowing.  And 
when  the  henna-staining  was  completed,  all  the  men 
who  were  present  chanted  (bacha  maulud)  until  day- 

"And  upon  the  7th  day  of  the  month,  being  Satur- 
day, the  bride  being  adorned,  the  bridegroom  seated 
in  a  buggy  was  drawn  in  procession  at  about  5  o'clock 
from  the  house  of  his  renowned  Highness  Tungku  Dia- 
Uddin,  accompanied  by  the  Government  Band  and  all 
kinds  of  music,  to  the  house  of  the  Datoh  Penghulu, 
where  he  was  met  and  sprinkled  with  saffron-rice  and 
rose-water.  Afterwards,  being  seated  on  the  marriage 
throne  side  by  side,  both  husband  and  wife,  they 
offered  each  other  in  turn  the  mouthfuls  of  saffron-rice 
which  were  presented  by  the  ladies  and  gentlemen 
.and  His  Highness  Tungku  Dia-Uddin. 

"And  afterwards  the  elder  relatives  on  the  side  of 
both  husband  and  bride  presented  the  rice,  and  Inche 
Mohamad  Kassim  presented  red  eggs  (telor  berjoran) 


to  all  the  ladies  and  gentlemen,  and  the  bridegroom 
led  the  bride  with  him  into  the  bridal  chamber  by  the 
finger,  walking  upon  cloth  of  purple  and  gold.  And 
afterwards  all  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  were  invited 
to  eat  and  drink,  and  the  band  played,  fireworks  and 
artificial  fires  were  burned,  and  great  was  the  bright- 
ness thereof,  and  all  the  young  people  danced  and  sang 
at  their  pleasure  until  the  evening  was  spent."  l 

The  marriage  customs  hitherto  described  have 
been  only  such  as  are  based  on  a  peaceful  understand- 
ing between  the  parents  of  the  contracting  parties.  An 
account  of  Malay  marriage  customs  would  not,  how- 
ever, be  complete  without  some  mention  of  the  customs 
which  regulate,  strange  as  it  may  seem,  even  the 
forcible  abduction  of  a  wife.  Of  these  customs  Sir 
W.  E.  Maxwell  says  : — 

"The  word  panjat  in  Malay  means  literally  'to 
climb,'  but  it  is  used  in  Perak,  and  perhaps  in  other 
Malay  States,  to  signify  a  forcible  entry  into  a  house 
for  the  purpose  of  securing  as  a  wife  a  woman  whom 
her  relations  have  already  refused  to  the  intruder. 
This  high-handed  proceeding  is  recognised  by  Malay 
custom,  and  is  regulated  by  certain  well-known  rules. 

"  Panjat  is  of  two  kinds — panjat  angkara  and  panjat 
'adat — entry  by  violence  and  entry  by  custom.  In  the 
first  case,  the  man  makes  his  way  into  the  house  armed 
with  his  kris,  or  other  weapon,  and  entering  the 
women's  apartment,  or  posting  himself  at  the  door, 
secures  the  person  of  his  intended  bride,  or  prevents 
her  escape.  He  runs  the  risk  of  being  killed  on  the 
spot  by  the  girl's  relations,  and  his  safety  depends 

1  Selangor  Journal,  vol.   iv.   No.  2,        buffaloes,  a  bullock,  goats,  spices,  plate, 
pp.    23-5.      The   list  of  presents  sent       and  jewellery, 
by  friends    on   this  occasion    included 

vi  ABDUCTION  395 

upon  his  reputation  for  courage  and  strength,  and  upon 
the  number  of  his  friends  and  the  influence  of  his 
family.  A  wooer  who  adopts  this  violent  method  of 
compelling  the  assent  of  unwilling  relations  to  his 
marriage  to  one  of  their  kin  must,  say  the  Malays, 
have  three  qualifications — 

"  Ka-rapat-an  baniak, 
Wang-nia  ber-lebi/i, 
Jantan-nia  ber-lebih, 

1  A  strong  party  to  back  him,  plenty  of  money,  and  no 
lack  of  bravery.' 

"  Plenty  of  money  is  necessary,  because,  by  accepted 
custom,  if  the  relations  yield  and  give  their  consent 
all  the  customary  payments  are  doubled  ;  the  fine  for 
the  trespass,  which  would  ordinarily  be  twenty-five 
dollars,  becomes  fifty  dollars ;  the  dower  is  likewise 
doubled,  and  the  usual  present  of  clothes  (salin)  must 
consist  of  two  of  each  of  the  three  garments  (salendang, 
baju,  kain\  instead  of  one  as  usual.  The  fine  for 
panjat  angkara  may  be  of  any  amount,  according  to 
the  pleasure  of  the  woman's  relations,  and  they  fix  it 
high  or  low  according  to  the  man's  position.  I  have 
heard  of  one  case  in  Perak,  where  the  fine  was  five 
hundred  dollars,  and  another  in  which  the  suitor,  to 
obtain  his  bride,  had  to  pay  one  thousand  seven  hun- 
dred and  fifty  dollars,  namely,  one  thousand  two  hun- 
dred and  fifty  dollars  as  a  fine,  and  five  hundred  dollars 
for  the  marriage  expenses.  But  in  this  case  the  girl 
was  already  betrothed  to  another,  and  one  thousand 
dollars  out  of  the  fine  went  to  the  disappointed  rival. 

"  Sometimes  the  relations  hold  out,  or  the  man,  for 
want  of  one  of  the  three  qualifications  mentioned  above, 
has  to  beat  an  ignominious  retreat.  In  the  reign  of 
Sultan  Ali,  one  Mat  Taib,  a  budak  raja,  or  personal 


attendant  on  the  Sultan,  asked  for  Wan  Dena,  the 
daughter  of  the  Bandahara  of  Kedah  (she  then  being 
at  Kota  Lama  in  P£rak)  in  marriage.  Being  refused 
he  forced  his  way  into  the  house,  and  seizing  the  girl 
by  her  long  hair  drew  his  kris,  and  defied  everybody. 
No  one  dared  to  interfere  by  force,  for  the  man,  if 
attacked,  would  have  driven  his  kris  into  the  girl's 
body.  This  state  of  things  is  said  to  have  lasted  three 
days  and  three  nights,  during  which  the  man  neither 
ate  nor  slept.  Eventually  he  was  drugged  by  an  old 
woman  from  whom  he  accepted  some  food  or  water, 
and  when  he  fell  asleep  the  girl  was  released  from  his 
grasp  and  taken  to  the  Sultan's  palace,  where  she  was 
married  off  straightway  to  one  Mat  Arshad.  Mat 
Taib  had  his  revenge,  for  within  a  year  he  amoked  at 
Bandar,  where  Mat  Arshad  lived,  killing  the  latter  and 
wounding  Wan  Dena. 

"  Panjat  'adatis  a  less  lawless  proceeding.  A  man 
who  is  in  love  with  a  girl,  the  consent  of  whose  parents 
or  relations  he  cannot  obtain,  sends  his  kris  to  their 
house  with  a  message  to  the  effect  that  he  is  ready 
with  the  dower,  presents,  etc.,  doubled  according  to 
custom,  and  that  he  is  ready  to  make  good  any 
demands  they  may  make. 

"  The  kris  is  symbolical  of  the  violent  entry,  which 
in  this  case  is  dispensed  with.  If  the  girl's  guardians 
are  still  obdurate  they  send  back  the  kris,  but  with  it 
they  must  send  double  the  amount  of  the  dower  offered 
by  the  man.1 " 

1  Sir  William  Maxwell  in  N.  and  Q.,  No.  4,  sec.  91,  issued  with  No.  17  of 
the/. X.A.S.,  S.B. 




7.    FUNERALS1 

When  a  man  dies,  the  corpse  (called  Maiat,  except 
in  the  case  of  a  Raja,  when  it  is  called  Jenaja  or 
JPnazak)  is  laid  on  its  back,  and  composed  with  the 
feet  towards  Mecca,  and  the  hands  crossed  (the  right 
wrist  resting  upon  the  left  just  below  the  breast-bone, 
and  the  right  fore-finger  on  the  top  of  the  left  arm). 
It  is  next  shrouded  from  head  to  foot  in  fine  new 
sarongs,  one  of  which  usually  covers  the  body  from 
the  feet  upwards  to  the  waist,  the  other  covering  it 
from  the  waist  to  the  head.  There  are  generally  (in 
the  case  of  the  peasantry)  three  or  four  thicknesses  of 
these  sarongs,  but  when  a  rich  man  (prang  kayo] 
dies,  as  many  as  seven  may  be  used,  each  of  the  seven 
being  made  in  one  long  piece,  so  as  to  cover  the  body 
from  the  head  to  the  feet,  the  cloth  being  of  fine 

1  "  At  their  funerals  the  corpse  is 
carried  to  the  place  of  interment  on  a 
broad  plank,  which  is  kept  for  the 
public  service  of  the  ditsun,  and  lasts 
for  generations.  It  is  constantly  nibbed 
with  lime,  either  to  preserve  it  from 
decay  or  to  keep  it  pure.  No  coffin 
is  made  use  of,  the  body  being  simply 
wrapped  in  white  cloth,  particularly  of 
the  sort  called  hummnms.  In  forming 
the  grave  (kubur),  after  digging  to  a 
convenient  depth  they  make  a  cavity 
in  the  side,  at  bottom,  of  sufficient 
dimensions  to  contain  the  body,  which 
is  there  deposited  on  its  right  side.  By 
this  mode  the  earth  literally  lies  light 
upon  it ;  and  the  cavity,  after  strewing 
flowers  in  it,  they  stop  up  by  two  boards 
fastened  angularly  to  each  other,  so 
that  the  one  is  on  the  top  of  the  corpse, 
whilst  the  other  defends  it  on  the  open 
side,  the  edge  resting  on  the  bottom 
•of  the  grave.  The  outer  excavation  is 
then  filled  up  with  earth  ;  and  little 
white  flags,  or  streamers,  are  stuck  in 
order  around.  They  likewise  plant  a 
shrub,  bearing  a  white  flower,  called 

kumbangkamboja  (Plumeria  ol>tusa),a.n& 
in  some  places  wild  marjoram.  The 
women  who  attend  the  funeral  make 
a  hideous  noise,  not  much  unlike  the 
Irish  howl.  On  the  third  and  seventh 
day  the  relations  perform  a  ceremony 
at  the  grave,  and  at  the  end  of  twelve 
months  that  of  tegga  l>atu,  or  setting 
up  a  few  long  elliptical  stones,  at  the 
head  and  foot,  which,  being  scarce  in 
some  parts  of  the  country,  bear  a  con- 
siderable price.  On  this  occasion  they 
kill  and  feast  on  a  buffalo,  and  leave 
the  head  to  decay  on  the  spot,  as  a 
token  of  the  honour  they  have  done  to 
the  deceased  in  eating  to  his  memory. 
The  ancient  burying-places  are  called 
kranimat,  and  are  supposed  to  have 
been  those  of  the  holy  men  by  whom 
their  ancestors  were  converted  to  the 
faith.  They  are  held  in  extraordinary 
reverence,  and  the  least  disturbance  or 
violation  of  the  ground,  though  all 
traces  of  the  graves  be  obliterated,  is 
regarded  as  an  unpardonable  sacrilege,'' 
— Marsden,  Hist.  cfSumatra(e<\..  1 8 1 1 ), 
pp.  287,  288. 


texture,  of  no  recognised  colour,  but  richly  interwoven 
with  gold  thread,  while  the  body  is  laid  upon  a  mat- 
tress, which  in  turn  rests  upon  a  new  mat  ®t pandanus 
leaf;  finally,  all  but  the  very  poorest  display  the  hang- 
ings used  on  great  occasions.  At  the  head  of  the 
corpse  are  then  piled  five  or  six  new  pillows,  with  two 
more  on  the  right  and  left  side  of  the  body  resting 
against  the  ribs,  while  just  below  the  folded  hands  are 
laid  a  pair  of  betel-nut  scissors  (kackip  best],  and  on 
the  matting  at  either  side  a  bowl  for  burning  incense  is 
placed.  Some  say  that  the  origin  of  laying  the  betel- 
nut  scissors  on  the  breast  is  that  once  upon  a  time  a 
cat  brushed  against  the  body  of  a  dead  person,  thereby 
causing  the  evil  influence  (badi)  which  resides  in  cats 
to  enter  the  body,  so  that  it  rose  and  stood  upon  its 
feet.  The  "contact  with  iron"1  prevents  the  dead 
body  from  rising  again  should  it  happen  by  any  mis- 
chance that  a  cat  (which  is  generally  the  only  animal 
kept  in  the  house,  and  which  should  be  driven  out  of 
the  house  before  the  funeral  ceremonies  commence) 
should  enter  unawares  and  brush  against  it.  From 
this  moment  until  the  body  is  laid  in  the  grave  the 
"  wake  "  must  be  religiously  observed,  and  the  body  be 
watched  both  by  day  and  night  to  see  that  nothing 
which  is  forbidden  (pantang]  may  come  near  it.2 

1  The  explanation  usually  given  by  It  is  still  the  custom  to  keep  both 
Malays   is  that   the  betel -nut  scissors  the  hearth-fire   (api  dapor)  and  lamps 
symbolise  iron.       Short    weapons  are  (palita)  burning  not  only  for  so  long 
sometimes  substituted.  as  the  corpse  may  be  in  the  house,  but 

2  Tradition  says   that    formerly   the  for  seven  days  and  nights  after  occur- 
corpse  was  watched  for  three  days  be-  rence    of  the  death.       It    is  also   the 
fore  burial,  and  that  sometimes  it  was  custom  to  open  the  sick  person's  mos- 
kept  for  a  week  or  even  a  longer  period.  quito-curtain  when  death  is  approach- 
One  Raja  S'nei  is  reported  to  have  been  ing,  and  in  some  cases,  at  all  events, 
kept  40  days  in  her  coffin  above  ground !  the  dying  are  taken  out  of  their  beds 
It  is  also  stated  that  before  the  intro-  and  laid  upon  the  floor.      I  may  add 
duction  of  Muhammadanism  the  dead  that  the  material  for  fumigation  (pfra- 
were  burned.  btm)  is  placed  upon  the  hearth-fire  after 

vi  THE  COFFIN  399 

The  Imam,  Bilal,  or  Khatib,  or  in  their  absence  the 
Pah  Doja,  or  Pah  Le"bai,  is  then  summoned,  and  early 
notice  of  the  funeral  is  given  to  all  relations  and  friends 
to  give  them  an  opportunity  of  attending.  Meanwhile 
the  preparations  are  going  on  at  the  house  of  the 
deceased.  The  shroud  (kain  kapari)  and  plank  or 
planks  for  the  coffin  are  got  ready  :  of  coffins  there  are 
three  kinds,  the  papan  sakeping  (the  simplest  form, 
generally  consisting  of  a  simple  plank  Q{ p^lla^  or  jelu- 
tong  wood  about  six  feet  long  by  three  spans  wide), 
the  karanda  (a  plain,  oblong  plank  box,  of  the  same 
dimensions),  and  the  long  (consisting  either  of  two 
planks  which  form  a  sort  of  gable  with  closed  ends 
called  kajang  rungkop,  or  the  long  betul,  which  is  like 
three  sides  of  a  box  with  its  sides  bulging  out,  both 
ends  open,  and  no  bottom).  Varnish  or  paint  is  for- 
bidden in  Malay  coffins,  but  the  planks  are  washed  to 
insure  their  cleanliness,  and  lined  with  white  cloth 
(alas put eh\  About  three  inches  of  earth  is  put  into 
the  karanda  ordinarily,  but  if  the  coffin  is  to  be  kept, 
about  a  span's  depth  of  earth,  quicklime,  and  several 
katis^  of  tea-leaves,  rush -piths  (sumbii  kumpai],  and 
camphor  are  also  deposited  in  it,  in  successive  layers, 
the  rush-piths  at  the  top.  Afterwards  when  the  corpse 
has  been  laid  on  the  top,  tea-leaves  are  put  at  front  and 
back  of  the  corpse  as  it  lies. 

The  next  operation  is  to  wash  the  corpse,  which  is 
carried  for  this  purpose  into  the  front  or  outer  room. 
If  there  are  four  people  to  be  found  who  are  willing  to 
undertake  this  disagreeable  duty,  they  are  told  to  sit 

a  death,  to  scare  away  the  evil  spirits,  the  demons   who   are  believed  to  be 

just   as  salt  is   thrown  upon   the  fire  casting  the  thunderbolts. 

during  a  thunderstorm,  in  order  that  it  T  The  kati  is  a  weight  equivalent  to 

may  counteract  the  explosions  of  thunder  i^  Ib.  avoirdupois. 

(rnfmbalas  pttir),  and  thus  drive  away 


upon  the  floor  in  a  row,  all  looking  the  same  way,  and 
with  their  legs  stretched  out  (belunjor  kaki),  the  body 
being  then  laid  across  their  laps  (riba).  Several  men 
are  then  told  off  to  fetch  water  in  jars,  scoop  it  out  of 
the  jars  and  pour  it  on  the  body  in  small  quantities  by 
means  of  the  "scoop"  (penckedok  ayer],  which  is  usu- 
ally a  small  bowl,  saucer,  or  cocoa-nut  shell  (tempurong\ 
It  frequently  happens,  however,  that  this  unpleasant 
task  finds  no  volunteers,  in  which  case  five  banana 
stems  are  turned  into  improvised  "  rollers  "  (galang), 
on  which  the  body  is  raised  from  the  floor  during  the 
process  of  washing  (meruang).  When  the  body  is 
ready  for  washing,  a  chief  washer  (orang  meruang]  is 
engaged  for  a  fee  of  about  a  dollar ;  this  is  usually  the 
Bilal  or  Imam,  who  "shampoos"  the  body  whilst  the 
rest  are  pouring  water  on  it.  The  body  then  under- 
goes a  second  washing,  this  time  with  the  cosmetic  called 
ayer  bedak  which  is  prepared  by  taking  a  handful 
of  rice  (sa-genggam  bras),  two  or  three  "  dips  "  of  lime 
(cholek  kapur\  and  a  pinch  of  gambier  (gambir  sa-chubif] 
— the  last  three  being  the  usual  concomitants  of  a 
single  "  chew  "  of  the  betel-leaf — and  pounding  them 
up  together  with  the  rice.  When  pounded  they  are 
mixed  with  water  (di-banchor *)  in  a  large  bowl  holding 
about  two  gallons,  the  water  at  the  top  being  poured 
off  into  a  vessel  of  similar  capacity,  and  scooped  up 
and  sprinkled  as  before  on  the  corpse.  The  next 
washing  is  with  juice  of  limes.  Four  or  five  limes 
(limau  nipis]  are  taken,  the  ends  cut  off,  and  each  lime 
slashed  crosswise  on  the  top  without  completely  sever- 
ing the  parts.  These  limes  are  then  squeezed  (di-ramas- 
kan]  into  another  large  bowl  containing  water,  and  the 
washing  repeated.  The  final  washing,  or  "Nine  Waters" 

1  The  form  found  in  most  dictionaries  is  banchoh  or  banchnli. 

vi  WASHING  THE  BODY  401 

(ayer  sambilan,  so  called  from  the  water  being  scooped 
up,  and  poured  thrice  to  the  right,  thrice  to  the  left, 
and  thrice  over  the  front  of  the  corpse  from  head  to 
foot)  is  performed  with  fresh  water  as  at  first,  and 
the  whole  ceremony  when  completed  is  called  bedara. 
The  washing  completed,  the  orifices — e.g.  ears,  nostrils, 
eyes — are  generally  stopped  with  cotton,  and  the  body 
is  carried  back  to  its  mattress,  and  laid  in  a  shroud  of 
white  cotton  cloth,  which  should  be  about  seven  feet 
long  by  four  feet  in  width  (salabuK),  so  that  the  edges 
meet  over  the  breast.  After  this  the  last  kiss  is  given 
by  the  nearest  relatives,  who  must  not,  however,  disturb 
the  corpse  by  letting  their  tears  fall  upon  its  features. 
The  shroud  is  usually  of  three  thicknesses  in  the  case 
of  poor  people,  but  wealthier  families  use  five,  and 
even  seven- fold  shrouds.  In  Selangor,  however, 
each  shroud  is  usually  a  separate  piece  of  cloth.  The 
dead  body  of  a  child  is  sometimes  covered  in  addition 
with  a  fine  sort  of  white  powder  (abok  tanah  or  taya- 
mam),  which  is  sprinkled  over  the  face  and  arms. 
Five  knots  are  used  in  fastening  the  shroud,  the  ends 
being  drawn  up  and  tied  (kochong]  by  means  of  the 
unravelled  hem  or  selvage  of  the  shroud  torn  into  tape- 
like  strips?  which  are  bound  thrice  round  the  body  at 
the  breast,  the  knees,  and  the  hips  respectively,  as 
well  as  above  the  head  and  below  the  feet.  The 
corpse  is  then  laid  on  the  mattress  or  mat  again,  this 
time  with  its  head  to  the  north,  and  on  its  right  side 
looking  towards  the  west  (Mecca),  which  is  the  position 
it  is  to  occupy  in  the  grave.  Prayers  are  then  offered 
by  four  or  five  "praying-men"  (orang  menyembah- 

1  Whence    the   expression    "  charik      of  the  shroud,  and   not  to  tear  off  a 
kapan"  which  means  literally  to  tear       piece  of  cloth  to  form  the  shroud), 
the  shroud  (i.e.  to  tear  off  the  selvage 

2  D 


yang),  who  know  the  burial  service  by  heart,  the  Bilal 
or  Imam  joining  in  the  service,  and  all  turning  towards 
the  west  in  the  usual  way.  One  "praying-man"  is 
sufficient,  if  no  more  are  to  be  had,  his  fee  ranging 
from  50  cents  to  a  dollar  in  the  case  of  the  poorer 
classes,  and  among  the  rich  often  amounting  to  $5  or 
$6.  This  service  is  held  about  i  P.M.  so  as  to  give 
plenty  of  time  to  carry  the  body  to  the  grave  and 
return  before  nightfall. 

A  jugful  of  eagle-wood  (gkaru)  and  sandal-wood 
(chendana)  water  is  then  prepared,  a  small  piece  of 
each  wood  being  taken  and  grated  on  a  stone  over 
the  jug  until  the  water  becomes  appreciably  scented  ; 
about  twenty  leaves  of  the  sweet-scented  pandanus 
(pandan  wangi]  are  then  added,  together  with  a 
bunch  of  fragrant  areca-palm  blossoms,  and  other 
scented  flowers,  such  as  the  champaka  and  kenanga, 
which  are  shredded  (di-iris]  into  a  wooden  tray  and 
mixed  together,  whilst  fragrant  essences,  such  as  rose- 
water  (ayer  mawar),  lavender  water  (ayer  labenda), 
attar  of  roses  (minyak  attar  or  turki)  are  added  when 
obtainable.  A  betel  -  leaf  tray  containing  all  the 
articles  required  for  chewing  betel  is  then  prepared, 
together  with  a  new  mat  of  pandanus-leaf,  in  which 
are  rolled  up  five  hasta^  of  white  cloth,  and  a  brass 
bowl  or  alms  box,  in  which  latter  are  to  be  placed 
the  contributions  (sedekak)  of  the  deceased's  rela- 
tions. The  preparations  are  completed  by  bringing 
in  the  bier  (usongan),  which  has  to  be  made  on 
purpose,  except  in  towns  where  a  bier  is  kept  in  the 

In  the  case  of  the  single  plank  coffin  the  body  is 
laid  on  the  plank  (which  is  carried  on  the  bier)  and 

1  Cubit,  the  length  of  the  forearm. 


a  sort  of  wicker-work  covering  (lerang - lerang)  of 
split  bamboo  is  placed  over  the  corpse,  so  as  to 
protect  it  on  its  way  to  the  grave.  In  the  case  of 
the  karanda  the  body  is  laid  in  the  coffin,  which  is 
carried  on  the  bier ;  and  in  the  case  of  the  long,  there 
being  no  bottom  in  this  form  of  coffin,  the  body  lies 
on  a  mat  In  each  case  the  bier  is  covered  with  a 
pall  (kain  tudong]  of  as  good  coloured  cloth  (never 
white,  but  often  green)  as  may  be  obtainable.  There 
are  generally  two  or  three  of  these  coverings,  and 
floral  decorations  are  sometimes  thrown  across  them, 
the  blossoms  of  the  areca-palm  and  the  scented  pan- 
danus  being  woven  into  exquisite  floral  strips,  called 
"Centipedes'  Feet"  (j'ari  lipari),  about  three  feet 
long  by  two  fingers  in  breadth,  and  laid  at  short 
intervals  across  the  pall.  There  are  generally  from 
five  to  six  of  these  floral  strips,  the  areca  blossom 
alternating  with  the  pandanus.  The  number  of 
bearers  depends  on  the  rank  of  the  deceased  ;  in  the 
case  of  a  Sultan  as  many  as  possible  bear  a  hand  in 
sending  him  to  the  grave,  partly  because  of  the 
pahala  or  merit  thereby  obtained,  and  partly  (no 
doubt)  for  the  sake  of  the  sedekah  or  alms  given  to 
bearers.  The  procession  then  starts  for  the  grave  ; 
none  of  the  mourners  or  followers  here  wear  any 
special  dress  or  sign  of  mourning,  such  as  the  white 
sash  with  coloured  ribbon  which  is  sometimes  worn  at 
Singapore  (unless  the  kabong  putek  or  strip  of  white 
cloth  which  is  distributed  as  a  funeral  favour  at  the 
death  of  a  Sultan  may  be  so  reckoned).  The  only 
mourning  which  appears  to  be  known  to  Malays  is 
the  rare  use  of  a  kind  of  black  edging  for  the  en- 
velopes of  letters,  and  that  is  no  doubt  copied  from 
the  English  custom,  though  I  may  add  that  a  letter 


which  announces  a  death  should  have  no  kapala? 
Loud  wailing  and  weeping  is  forbidden  by  the  Imam 
for  fear  of  disturbing  the  dead.  The  mosque  drum 
is  not  usually  beaten  for  funerals  in  Selangor,  nor  is 
the  body  usually  carried  into  the  mosque,  but  is  borne 
straight  to  the  tomb.  If  the  coffin  is  a  single  plank 
one,  on  arriving  at  the  grave  (which  should  have 
been  dug  early  in  the  morning)  an  excavation  is  made 
on  the  left  side  of  the  grave  for  the  reception  of  the 
corpse,  the  cavity  being  called  Hang  lahad.  Three 
men  then  lower  the  corpse  into  the  grave,  where 
three  others  are  waiting  to  receive  it,  and  the  corpse 
is  deposited  in  the  cavity  on  its  right  side  (mengiring 
ka  lambong  kanan],  looking  towards  the  west  (Mecca), 
and  with  the  head  therefore  lying  towards  the  north. 
Four  pegs  (daka-dakd)  are  then  driven  in  to  keep 
the  plank  in  a  diagonal  position  and  prevent  it  from 
falling  on  the  body,  while  the  plank  in  turn  protects 
the  corpse  from  being  struck  by  falling  earth. 

The  karanda  is  lowered  into  the  centre  of  the 
grave  in  the  same  way  as  a  European  coffin,  the 
body,  however,  being  invariably  deposited  in  the 
position  just  described  ;  whilst  the  long  acts  as  a  sort 
of  lid  to  a  shallow  trench  (just  big  enough  to  contain 
the  body)  which  is  dug  (di-fcroli}  in  the  middle  of  the 
grave-pit.  The  five  bands  swathing  the  corpse  (lima 
tali- pengikat  maiaf)  are  then  removed,  and  at  this 
point  the  bystanders  occasionally  hand  lumps  of  earth 
(tanah  sa-kepat)  to  the  men  standing  in  the  pit,  who, 
after  putting  them  to  the  nostrils  of  the  deceased 
"  to  be  smelled,"  deposit  them  at  the  side  of  the 
grave,  when  they  are  shovelled  in  by  those  standing 

1  The  short  motto  which  usually  heads  Malay  letters. 

vi  BURIAL  405 

at  the  top.1  The  filling  of  the  grave  then  proceeds, 
but  as  it  is  "  taboo  "  (pantang)  to  let  the  earth  strike 
against  the  coffin  in  its  fall,  the  grave-diggers,  who 
are  still  standing  in  the  pit,  receive  it  as  it  falls 
upon  a  sort  of  small  hurdle  or  screen  made  of 
branches,  and  thence  tilt  it  into  the  grave.  As  the 
grave  (which  is  usually  dug  to  about  the  level  of  a 
man's  ear)  fills  up,  the  grave-diggers,  who  are  for- 
bidden to  shovel  in  the  soil  themselves,  tread  down 
the  earth  and  level  it,  and  they  are  not  allowed  to 
leave  the  pit  till  it  is  filled  up  to  the  top.  One  of 
the  relations  then  takes  a  piece  of  any  hard  wood, 
and  rudely  fashions  with  a  knife  a  temporary  grave- 
post  (nisan  or  nts/ian),  which  is  round  in  the  case 
of  a  man  and  flattened  in  the  case  of  a  woman ;  one 
of  these  grave-posts  is  placed  exactly  over  the  head 
(rantau  kapald]  and  the  other  over  the  waist  (rantau 
pinggang\  not  at  the  feet  as  in  the  case  of  Europeans. 
Thus  the  two  grave-posts  are  ordinarily  about  three 
feet  apart,  but  tradition  says  that  over  the  grave  of 
a  kramat  or  saint,  they  will  always  be  found  some  five 
or  six  feet  at  least  apart,  one  at  the  head  and  one 
at  the  feet,  and  it  is  said  to  be  the  saint  himself  who 
moves  them.  To  the  knob  of  the  grave-post  is  tied 
a  strip  of  white  cloth  as  a  sign  of  recent  death.2 

Leaves  are  then  strewn  on  the  ground  at  the  left 
of  the  grave,  and  the  five  cubits  of  white  cloth  alluded 

1  I   may  add  that  in   pre-Muham-  the  earlier  form  of  a  tomb  was  a  cir- 
madan  days  certain  articles  are  said  to  cular  mound  with  a  single  grave-post 
have  been  buried  with  the  corpse,  viz.  in   the   centre.      It  is  said  that  such 
"Pros  sa-p'riol:,asam,garam, "together  mounds  were  formerly  used  in  Sungei 
with   (in    the   case  of  a   man)    rough  Ujong,  but  I  am  unable  to  say  if  this 
wooden     models    of    the    deceased's  is  so.     Sultan  Zeinal  'Abidin  of  Johor 
weapons.  is  also  described  as  having  a  tomb  of 

2  Tradition  says  that  originally  one  this  description  at  Kota  Tinggi. 
grave-post  (nisan)  was  used,  and  that 


to  above  are  spread  out  to  form  a  mat,  upon  which 
the  Imam  takes  his  seat,  the  rest  of  the  company 
being  seated  upon  the  leaves.  Eagle  -  wood  and 
sandal  -  wood  water  (ayer  gharu  chendand]  is  then 
brought  to  the  Imam,  who  pours  it  out  in  three 
libations,  each  time  sprinkling  the  grave  from  the 
head  to  the  foot.  If  any  water  is  left,  the  Imam 
sprinkles  it  upon  any  other  graves  which  may  be 
near,  whilst  the  shredded  flowers  (bunga  rampai] 
are  then  similarly  disposed  of.  Next  is  read  the 
talkin,  which  is  an  exhortation  (ajaran)  addressed  to 
the  deceased.  It  is  said  that  during  the  process  of 
reading  the  Talkin  the  corpse  momentarily  revives, 
and,  still  lying  upon  its  side,  raises  itself  to  a  listen- 
ing position  by  reclining  upon  its  right  elbow  (ber- 
telku)  and  resting  its  head  upon  its  hand.1  This 
is  the  reason'2'  for  removing  the  bands  of  the  shroud, 
as  the  body  is  left  free  to  move,  and  thus  in  groping 
about  (meraba-raba)  with  its  left  hand  feels  that  its 
garment  is  without  a  hem  or  selvage,  and  then  first 
realising  that  it  must  be  really  dead,  composes  itself 
to  listen  quietly  to  whatever  the  Imam  may  say, 
until  at  the  close  of  the  exhortation  it  falls  back 
really  lifeless!  Hence  the  most  absolute  silence 
must  be  observed  during  the  exhortation.  The  Imam 
then  repeats,  by  way  of  "doxology,"  the  tahalil 
or  meratib,  "  la-ilaha-illa- llah "  ("there  is  no  god 
but  God  "),  in  company  with  the  rest  of  the  assembly, 

1  This  notion  probably  arose  from  an  strips    into   a  rough  sort   of  bracelet, 
erroneous  idea  of  etymological  connec-  which  they  wear  as  long  as  it  lasts  in 
tion    between    the   words    talkin   and  memory  of  the  deceased.      Little  chil- 
bfrtglku.  dren  are  made  to  pass  thrice  underneath 

2  Of  course  if  the  karanda  is  used  the    karanda    of    their   parents    when 
the  bands  have  to  be  removed  before  it  it  is  first  lifted  in  the  chamber,    "to 
is   nailed   down.       On   their   removal  prevent    them    from    pining    for    the 
these  bands  are  handed  to  the  next-of-  deceased." 

kin,   who  tear  them  up  and  plait  the 

vi  FUNERAL  PRA  YERS  407 

all  present  turning  their  heads  and  rocking  them- 
selves from  side  to  side  as  they  sit,  whilst  they 
reiterate  the  words  a  hundred  times,  commencing 
slowly  till  thirty-three  times  are  reached,  then  in- 
creasing the  pace  up  to  the  sixty -sixth  time,  and 
concluding  with  great  rapidity.  The  contributions 
in  the  alms-basin  (batil)  are  then  divided  among  the 
entire  company  as  alms  (sedekaJi).  The  master  of 
the  house  then  invites  those  present  to  partake  at 
about  five  P.M.  of  the  funeral  feast,  which  in  no  way 
differs  from  an  ordinary  Malay  banquet,  the  more 
solid  portion  of  the  meal  (makan  nasi]  being  fol- 
lowed by  the  usual  confectionery  and  preserved  fruits. 
The  Imam  then  reads  prayers,  and  the  company 
breaks  up.  The  decorations  for  the  funeral  are  left 
for  three  days  undisturbed.  During  these  three 
days  the  nearer  neighbours  are  feasted,  both  in  the 
morning  and  evening,  at  the  usual  Malay  hours ;  and 
for  three  days  every  night  at  about  ten  P.M.  the 
service  called  "  Reading  the  Koran  to  the  Corpse " 
(mengajikan  maiat]  is  performed,  either  by  the 
Imam  or  somebody  hired  for  the  purpose.  This  is 
an  important  duty,  the  slightest  slip  being  regarded 
as  a  great  sin.  At  the  end  of  the  three  days  there 
is  yet  another  feast,  at  one  P.M.  (kanduri  meniga 
hari],  when  those  who  are  farther  off  are  invited, 
and  after  this  meal  the  tahalil  is  repeated  as  before. 

On  the  seventh  day  a  similar  feast  (called  kanduri 
menujoh  hari]  is  followed  by  the  tahalil,  which  neces- 
sitates a  further  distribution  of  fees  (sedekah  tahalil}  ; 
but  in  the  case  of  poor  people  this  second  tahalil  may 
be  omitted,  or  the  master  of  the  house  may  say  to  the 
company,  "  I  ask  (to  be  let  off)  the  praying  fees"  (Sahya 
minta  sedekah  tahalil},  in  which  case  the  tahalil  is  free. 


Yet  another  feast  is  held  on  the  fourteenth  day 
(kanduri  dua  kali  tujoh  kari],  when  the  ceremonies 
are  at  end,  except  in  the  case  of  the  richer  classes  who 
keep  the  kanduri  ampat  puloh  kari,  or  forty  days' 
feast,  and  the  kanduri  meratus  hari,  or  - 100  days' 
feast,  whilst  the  anniversary  is  also  kept  as  a  holiday 
by  all  who  wish  to  show  respect  for  the  deceased. 
This  closes  the  usual  funeral  ceremonies,  but  a  day  is 
generally  chosen  at  pleasure  in  the  month  of  Ramthan 
or  Maulud  for  the  purpose  of  offering  prayers  and 
feasting  the  ancestors. 

The  only  difference  made  in  the  case  of  the  death 
of  a  woman  is  that  the  washing  of  the  corpse  devolves 
upon  women,  whilst  in  the  case  of  very  young  infants 
the  talkin  is  sometimes  omitted.  The  woman's  nisan, 
as  has  been  explained,  is  distinguished  by  its  shape.1 
The  temporary  nisan  may  be  replaced  by  a  permanent 
one  at  any  time  after  the  funeral.  At  the  time  the 
grave  is  made  up,  four  planks  (dapor-dapor),  with  the 
upper  edges  and  ends  roughly  carved  and  scolloped,  are 
placed  round  the  grave  mound  (tanah  mati)  to  keep 
the  earth  from  falling  down.  Whenever  the  grave  is 
thus  finally  made  up  a  feast  is  held,  but  from  the 
necessities  of  the  case  this  pious  duty  is  generally  left 
to  the  rich. 


"The  successful  practice  of  (Malay)  medicine  must 
be  based  on  the  fundamental  principle  of  '  preserving 
the  balance  of  power '  among  the  four  elements.  This 
is  chiefly  to  be  effected  by  constant  attention  to,  and 

1  From   observing  a  good  many  of  evolved  from  a  phallic  emblem,  whilst 

these  grave-posts  in  different  localities,  that    used     for     women     occasionally 

I  should  be  inclined  to  suppose  that  assumes  a  rude  resemblance  to  a  human 

the  grave-post  used  for  men  had  been  being. 

vi  MEDICAL  RITES  409 

moderation  in,  diet.  To  enforce  these  golden  precepts, 
passages  from  the  Koran  are  plentifully  quoted  against 
excess  in  eating  or  drinking.  Air,  they  say,  is  the 
cause  of  heat  and  moisture,  and  earth  of  cold  and 
dryness.  'They  assimilate  the  constitution  and  passions 
of  man  to  the  twelve  signs  of  the  Zodiac,  and  the  seven 
planets,  etc." 

"  The  mysterious  sympathy  between  man  and 
external  nature  ....  was  the  basis  of  that  system 
of  supernatural  magic  which  prevailed  in  Europe  during 
the  Middle  Ages."1 

The  foregoing  quotation  shows  that  the  distinctive 
features  of  the  Aristotelian  hygienic  theory,  as  borrowed 
by  the  Arabs,  did  eventually  filter  through  (in  some 
cases)  until  they  reached  the  Malays.  Such  direct 
references,  however,  to  Greek  theories  are  of  the  rarest 
character,  and  can  hardly  be  considered  typical. 

Most  of  the  more  important  rites  practised  by  the 
Malay  medicine-men  (Bomor^  may  be  divided  into 
two  well-defined  parts.  Commencing  with  a  cere- 
monial "  inspection  "  (the  counterpart  of  our  modern 
"diagnosis"),  the  Bomor  proceeds  to  carry  out  a 
therapeutic  ceremony,  the  nature  of  which  is  decided 
by  the  results  of  the  "  inspection."  For  the  purposes 
of  the  diagnosis  he  resorts  to  divination,  by  means  of 
omens  taken  from  the  smoke  of  the  burning  censer, 
from  the  position  of  coins  thrown  into  water-jars 
(batu  buyong),  and  parched  rice  floating  upon  the 
water's  surface. 

The  therapeutic  rites,  on  the  other  hand,  may 
be  roughly  classified  as  follows  according  to  their 
types  :3— 

1  Newbold,  Malacca^  vol.  ii.  p.  352.  3  There  are,  it  need  hardly  be  said, 

2  As  to  the  titles  Bomor  and  Pawangt       innumerable    charms     and     talismans 
see  Chapter  III.  p.  56,  note.  which  are   valued  by   the  Malays  for 


1.  Propitiatory  Ceremonies  (limas,  ambangan,  etc.). 

2.  "  Neutralisatory  "  Ceremonies  for  destroying  the  evil  principle 


3.  "  Expulsory "  Ceremonies  (for  the   casting   out  of  the  evil 

principle;1  of  which  the  "sucking  charm"  rite  (mengalin) 
is  an  example). 

4.  "  Revivificatory "   Ceremonies  (for  recalling  a  sick  person's 

soul,  riang  semangaf). 

I  shall  take  each  of  the  types  in  order. 

For  the  water-jar  ceremony  three  jars  (buyong)  con- 
taining water  are  brought  to  the  sick  man's  room  and 
decorated  with  the  fringe  or  necklace  of  plaited  cocoa- 
nut  leaves,  which  is  called  "Centipedes'  Feet"  (jari 
'lipan).  A  fourth  jar  should  contain  a  sort  of  bouquet 
of  artificial  flowers  to  serve  as  an  attraction  to  the  sick 
man's  soul  (semangaf).  You  will  also  require  a  tray 
filled  with  the  usual  accessories  of  Malay  magic 
ceremonies  (incense,  three  sorts  of  rice,  etc.),  besides 
three  wax  tapers,  one  of  which  you  will  plant  upon  the 
brim  of  each  of  the  three  jars. 

When  all  is  ready,  drop  the  incense  upon  the 
embers,  and  as  the  smoke  rises  repeat  this  charm  :— 

"  If  you  are  at  one  with  me,  rise  towards  me,  O  smoke ; 
If  you  are  not  at  one  with  me,  rise  athwart  me,  O  smoke, 
Either  to  right  or  left."2 

As  you  say  this,  "  catch  "  the  first  puff  of  smoke  and 

their  supposed   efficacy  in   preventing  such  as  an  egg,  a  substituted  image  or 

disease;    there  are   also   an    immense  scapegoat  (tukarganti),  a  "Spirit-Hall," 

number   of  short  charms  (often   mere  or  spirit-boat,  in  which  the  evil  spirits 

texts  from  the  Koran)  which  are  con-  are  carried  out  of  the  house  and  got  rid 

sidered  invaluable  for  checking  minor  of;  or  else  he  may  induce  a  stronger 

ailments.       It  being  impossible,  how-  spirit,  e.g.,  the  Tiger  Spirit  (vide  infra), 

ever,   in  the    scope    of   this    work    to  to    enter   into    his    own    person,    and 

give  specimens  of  the  entire  "materia  assist  him  in  the  task  of  evicting  the 

medica "  of  the   Malays,  examples  of  offender. 

the  more  important  branches  only  are  2  Jikalau  sa-rasi  dengan  aku,  m/nga- 

given.  dap-lah     angkau,      asap,     kapada'ku, 

1  The  Pa-wang  may  either  effect  this  kalau  to?  sa-rasi,  m2lintang-lah   'kau 

himself,  by  luring  the  evil  spirits  out  of  dlngan   akn,   atau   ka   kiri,    atau   ka 

the  sick  person's  body  into  some  object,  kanan. 


Model,  showing  a  medicine-man  (bomor  or  pawang)  at  work,  the  patient  lying  in  bed  with  his  child 
at  his  side.  The  "three  jars "  (Imyong  tiga)  used  by  the  medicine-man  are  standing  in  a  row 
at  the  side  of  the  room.  They  are  a  little  too  large  in  proportion. 

Page  410. 


inhale  it  (tangkap-lah  puchok  asap,  ckium),  as  it  rises 
towards  you.  If  the  smell  is  pleasant  (sedap)  it  is  a 
good  sign  ;  if  it  has  a  scorched  smell  (kangit)  it  is  bad  ; 
but  if  it  smells  offensive  (busoK]  no  medicine  can  save 
the  patient. 

Next,  before  you  look  into  the  jars,  take  handfuls 
of  "parched,"  "washed,"  and  "saffron"  rice,  and  after 
fumigating  them  over  the  incense,  strew  them  all 
round  the  row  of  jars,  saying  as  you  do  so  : — 

"  Cluck,  cluck  !  souls  of  So-and-so,  all  seven  of  you  ! J 
Come,  and  let  all  of  us  here  together 
See  (about  the)  medicine  for  (you)  O  souls  of  So-and-so" 

Here  strew  (tabor)  the  rice  first  to  the  right,  then 
to  the  left,  and  then  to  the  right  again. 

Before  removing  the  calladium-leaves  from  the  jar- 
mouths,  repeat  the  following  : — 

"Peace  be  with  you,  Prophet  'Tap,  in  whose  charge  is  the  earth, 
Suawam,  in  whose  charge  are  the  heavens, 
Prophet  Noah,  in  whose  charge  are  the  Trees, 
Prophet  Elias,  Planter  of  Trees, 

And  Prophet  Khailir  (Khizr),  in  whose  charge  is  the  water, 
I  crave  permission  to  see  the  remedies  for  So-and-so" 

Here  remove  the  calladium-leaves  from  the  jar- 
mouths,  and  taking  one  of  the  wax  tapers,  wave  it 
in  the  smoke  of  the  censer  seven  times  towards  the 
right,  and  say  : — 

"  Peace  be  with  you,  O  Tanju,  I  adopt  you  to  be  a  guardian  for 

my  brother, 

You  who  are  sprung  from  the  original  elements, 
From  the